Ed Smithers, Putnam County maintenance supervisor for the West Virginia Division of Highways, attended Monday's meeting to help answer questions from residents but couldn't offer many answers except to agree that the bridge was dangerous and the design bad. He did promise to find out why the lights haven't been fixed in the area.
Residents didn't fault Smithers for not knowing more about plans for the area but had hoped someone with more authority would have been present to tell them when the problems will be corrected. The intersection was supposed to be a temporary measure until the final section of the U.S. 35 upgrade is completed, but funding for the project has dried up.
"We've got to get someone up the chain of command to realize how serious a problem this is," said Delegate Jim Butler, a Republican representing the local 14th District. Butler, Republican 14th District Delegate Scott Cadle and Sen. Chris Walters, R-Kanawha/Putnam, all attended Monday's meeting.
Walters said the three freshmen legislators have been able to push the state to raise the priority of the U.S. 35 upgrade plan. He said they will keep working to influence completion of the highway.
Local lawmakers and Putnam County Commissioner Andy Skidmore, chairman of the Transportation Committee, said they would try to get Mattox or other state officials to come to future committee meetings to answer questions from the public.
In the meantime, it was suggested that the nonworking streetlights be fixed or replaced and that committee members ask the Putnam County Sheriff's Department and State Police to start ticketing drivers who take the dangerous turn too fast.
The Transportation Committee next meets July 29.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.