CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia is redoubling its ongoing campaign that
urges motorists to drive safely through the growing ranks of highway
construction projects, after a spate of tragic fatal crashes.
Governor Jim Justice on
Wednesday cited how he, the Department of Transportation and West Virginia
State Police have repeatedly cautioned drivers to remain mindful of work zone
safety and avoid distracted driving. After several deaths along a stretch of
I-64 in Putnam County, that message must now be amplified, Governor Justice
“We’re taking additional
action to make sure that this construction will be completed in a safe manner
and in a way that will benefit the public,” Governor Justice said.
The Division of Highways is
already following all relevant federal or national safety standards. Governor
Justice directed Transportation Secretary Tom Smith and State Police
Superintendent Jan Cahill on Wednesday to go above and beyond those standards
wherever possible while also focusing more strongly on enforcement.
“We need to do more,”
Governor Justice said. “Our hearts go out to the families involved in these
tragic accidents along the interstate. I have instructed Secretary Smith and
Colonel Cahill to immediately look at what steps they can take to make sure we
are doing everything we possibly can to make our interstates and work zones
safe for all motorists as well as those working on the job sites.”
Construction workers have
started appearing along West Virginia’s bridges and highways, working on
routine maintenance and paving. Thousands more will begin soon on the array of
improvement and constructions projects funded through Governor Justice’s
successful Roads to Prosperity bond initiative.
Pledging their additional support,
Secretary Smith and Colonel Cahill outlined an action plan Wednesday that
includes assigning additional troopers to construction areas and enhancing
safety warnings and signage.
“We’ve had emergency
meetings with the State Police throughout the day, and are taking immediate action,”
Secretary Smith said. “We have heard what Governor Justice has said, and we too
pray for the families of those involved.”