I’ve said it before, “secondary” roads should not be a mere afterthought. Secondary roads are, if you think about it, the most important roads we have. They are the roads that our citizens travel every day, from the moment they pull out of the driveway. They serve as the gateway to our interstates, but more importantly, secondary roads are the roads our citizens drive to drop their children off at school, to go to work, and to visit the grocery store.
Finally, after years of neglect, brighter days and smoother, safer “secondary” roads are on the horizon. For that reason, I would like to give some much deserved praise and thanks to Gov. Jim Justice and his “Roads to Prosperity” program.
Earlier this year, Gov. Justice called for a redirect of the Roads to Prosperity program. Part of this redirect was the appointment of Transportation Secretary Byrd White and a much-needed shift in focus to our secondary roads. In response to the governor’s changes, the Kanawha County Commission immediately submitted a list of 101 secondary roads in need of maintenance. The DOT has begun (or is scheduled to begin) work on many of the roads on our list. Just this week, we have again been in direct contact with Secretary White to ensure Kanawha County’s concerns are being addressed. The communication with the Department of Transportation is seamless and when I call, I know they are listening.
A recent example would be the continued repair and revitalization of Greenbrier Street. It connects our visitors and citizens to Yeager Airport, our state’s largest airport. Greenbrier Street also serves as the gateway to our capital city, offering visitors their first glimpse of our beautiful Capitol Complex and the surrounding area. It connects travelers to Interstate 64 and it could easily be the only secondary road they will drive on in West Virginia. That is why the recent paving and repairs to the streetlights are a welcome sight after being neglected for more than a decade. A well-lit road is a safe road, and Greenbrier Street is now a shining example of how we can make a hazardous secondary road safer.
The bottom line: We have waited far too long for a real and lasting effort to address the condition of our “secondary” roads. These roads must be fixed, and maintained, for the safety of both our citizens and our visitors. Gov. Justice’s recent efforts have increased the safety of our roads by leaps and bounds. I look forward to seeing continued progress.