Industrial Park Road Cannot Wait Until Next Year For Repairs

by Duane Nichols on September 2, 2011

Industriousness lacking in DOH?

Industrial Park Road’s condition cannot wait until next year for repairs to begin

Industrial strength vehicles are well advised on Industrial Park Road. Technically known as Monongalia County Route 19/19, which intersects with River Road (Monongalia County Route 45), its first 2,000 feet is the responsibility of the state Division of Highways (DOH). This road features its share of potholes, like most secondary roads, but its condition appears to be off the charts. Though last week’s 5.8 earthquake played no role in this road’s warped surface, it looks to be what you would expect from a natural disaster. For now, the DOH is evaluating this road’s condition by surveying the area, taking soil and rock samples, and then determining what to do.

We realize engineering plans cannot be drafted overnight and actual construction can be complex. But all too often, we get the impression the DOH doesn’t usually operate with a sense of urgency. We wouldn’t describe its approach as nonchalance, either. However, if we were to liken its technique to a speed limit, it would be about 30 miles per hour. Of course, most projects come down to time and money — and mostly money. But when roadways that access vital developments are in this condition with winter is looming larger by the week, something needs to be done. Far be it from us to pretend we know what that something is, but it’s self-evident that we need to get beyond the evaluation process.

Our chief concern is that this project might follow some timelines for road repairs in the recent past. For instance, in fall 2008 a stretch of River Road began cracking and slipping toward the Monongahela River. That portion of road — relatively near Industrial Park Road — was closed in December 2008 and did not reopen until late spring 2010. Even worse, River Road started slipping again this spring in the same location that was repaired a year ago. Admittedly, West Virginia’s topography presents great challenges to any engineer or highway worker. It comes with the turf.

However, like any operation, there should be a triage approach to integral roadways in our state. For now, Industrial Park Road may just present a major inconvenience. It’s still passable. But does anyone think it’s going to get better? The freeze and thaw cycle of winter is certain to devastate this road. Needless to say, this road is the only one that leads to the Morgantown Industrial Park, which is a hive of industry in this area. Now, it’s time the DOH showed some industriousness of its own there.

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