By Betty Gandee
When the Roads to Prosperity bill was proposed by Governor Jim Justice months ago, many were hopeful that this would allow for roads in rural areas to finally be repaired.
Recently, Governor Justice fired Transportation Secretary Tom Smith because of his pushback on repairing and maintaining such roads.
This controversy regarding fixing the roads has many in the Hartland area irate. A massive slip on Hartland Road that occurred over a month ago continues to not be fixed. In February, roughly 40 feet of road slipped off the mountain, and as weeks passed the road became totally impassable. The condition of the road continues to get worse each day. Since the road closure, Hartland residents must travel over an hour to commute to and from their houses.
Carli Caldwell states that this slip has put hardship on many people, and that they are furious that there is no estimated time of repair from the state. The DOH stated that the earliest the repairs could start would be July 2019, saying that the passage would be monitored and that it would be passable for most vehicles. She feels this is definitely not the case, and that the community pays their taxes and should have safe, maintained roads to commute on.
“I’m very upset that we are expected to have our vehicles inspected annually to show that we have a vehicle that meets specific safety standards to have on the road but we are not provided with a safe road to drive on,” says Caldwell.
Caldwell has contacted many news stations and attended a meeting on March 13 at the commissioner’s office to voice her concerns. The office has been making calls on the resident’s behalf, and they are speaking with a company that can open up the passage below the slip so they will have a way in and out until the slip is completely repaired. They are trying to coordinate with the state DOH to make this happen as soon as possible.