SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV –
Gov. Jim Justice spoke with more than 130 West Virginia Division of Highways maintenance workers from across the state Tuesday during an annual maintenance conference and training seminar at the Holiday Inn in South Charleston.
“I am really, really honored to be with all of you today,” Gov. Justice said. “I know just how good you men and women are, you’re the best of the best and you probably don’t even realize the magnitude of what you do. Your work keeps our people safe on the roads and keeps them coming back to West Virginia, that’s all there is to it.”
The conference, one of the DOH’s largest each year, allows “boots on the ground” workers to exchange ideas on how to solve complex problems. New equipment or new models of equipment are often debuted and demonstrated as an example for future use.
Gov. Justice’s visit at the conference came about a month and a half after he directed leaders with the DOH to refocus the agency as a maintenance-first organization in order to fix secondary roads across the state.
“The secondary roads had been neglected for a long, long time,” Gov. Justice said. “And you know as much as I know that we sold off a bunch of equipment and you were out there trying to fix a road with a shovel. It’s impossible to run a race when we’ve got your leg tied up behind your back.
“Somebody had to make a change,” Gov. Justice said. “And that’s exactly what we did.”
Tuesday, the governor highlighted the DOH’s progress in the six weeks since his directive – including that crews have pulled shoulders and ditches on 13,000 shoulder-miles, ditched 2,200 road miles of non-paved roads, replaced 169,000 feet of pipes and culverts, and used 22,000 tons of asphalt and other materials on roadway patching – and urged these crews to continue their diligent work to repair every single road possible, as fast as possible.
“You are turning this state around, but there is still a lot to do,” Gov. Justice said. “We are still looking anywhere and everywhere we can to try to uncover every dollar we can uncover and give it to you and say, ‘You guys go do your job.’ Because I know just how good you men and women are, that’s all there is to it.
“When you unleash the power of great West Virginians, they do great stuff,” Gov. Justice continued. “I believe, with all in me, you are the best of the best of the best.”