The West Virginia Dept. of Transportation (WVDOT) and Dept. of Highways (WVDOH) have been honored with the 2022 ENR MidAtlantic Owner of the Year Award. WVDOT and WVDOH will be featured in the April print issue of ENR MidAtlantic.
Selected by ENR’s editors, Owners of the Year are chosen for their innovation and creativity throughout the region as well as their contributions to their community. The last eight MidAtlantic winners include Boston Properties, Penn Med, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, DelDott, Douglas Development, PennDOT, DC Public Schools and DC Water.
In 2017, WVDOT and WVDOH deployed the $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity highway and bridge construction and maintenance program, the largest infrastructure investment in the history of West Virginia. The program reversed “decades of underinvestment in the Mountain State’s roads and bridges,” according to Michael Baker International, which nominated the DOT and DOH for Owner of the Year.
The program invested in roads and bridges in every one of the state’s 55 counties. Residents voted to raise the gasoline tax, vehicle sales taxes and motor vehicle fees to go along with a series of bond sales aided by West Virginia’s strong credit rating, Michael Baker says.
“WVDOT harnessed the windfall of funding to emphasize highway maintenance to reverse years of neglect of the state’s highways and replace the piecemeal approach to major new construction projects with full, long-term funding plans to complete major projects, some of which had been stalled for years,” the firm says.
The program replaced or renovated 26 separate bridges on or near Interstate 70 in the Wheeling area, completed a four- lane upgrade of US 35 that had been in discussion since the 1960s and made major progress on the completion of Appalachian Corridor H through West Virginia’s highlands.
Michael Baker says the Roads to Prosperity program also allowed WVDOT to hire 638 new employees in 2021 alone.
Some of the agency’s recent notable projects include:
Corridor H is the largest contract and design-build project ever from the WVDOH. The project encompasses a 132-mile, four-lane highway that will run between central West Virginia and northern Virginia. When constructed, Corridor H will be the only limited access highway through the rugged and mountainous terrain of West Virginia’s Appalachian Highlands Region to Interstate 81 in Virginia. Its primary purpose is to provide access to relatively isolated areas so that those areas can develop and compete for economic opportunities.
The $215 million I-70 Bridges Project involves the rehabilitation of 23 bridges in West Virginia, the rehabilitation of the BEL-70 Bridge in Ohio and the replacement of the two Fulton Bridges. The bridge repairs include a combination of new decks or new deck overlays, concrete substructure repairs, steel repairs of areas with section loss or cracking, elimination of deck joints, new coating systems and other miscellaneous maintenance repair items.
Seneca Rocks Crossing
This project includes replacement of a low water crossing at Seneca Rocks with a 140-ft steel truss bridge. The low water crossing carries Roy Gap Road over the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River at the base of Seneca Rocks, near the United States Forest Service Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. A log truck damaged the pipes that carry water through the existing structure, causing water to run over the top. WVDOH was forced to close the low water crossing in 2019, cutting off an access point for emergency vehicles into Seneca Rocks and homes in the area. The new steel truss bridge will be raised far enough above the water to eliminate problems with flooding. The new bridge and abutments will include stamped and stained concrete and painted steel to blend in with the environment.