Widen I-64 to six lanes
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I respectfully beg to differ with the DOT official's assessment of the large pileup of cars on the I-64 bridge between the Nitro and St. Albans exits. While the weather conditions may have contributed to that particular crash scene, the real culprit is not the trucks, it is the poorly designed entrance and exit ramps at those two exits. I travel the road several times a week and there are always wrecks there because people are unable to merge safely.
Fifty years ago when I-64 was being designed, Putnam County was mainly family farms and small hamlets. Perhaps the designers did not envision the growth that a four-lane highway would bring to the area. Even then there was not enough room left for vehicles to safely merge into the traffic at the Nitro and St. Albans entrances. Now the restricted vision and short access ramps make it a continuous hazard for both those who are traveling on the road and those who are trying to enter.
Highway Department officials may not be able to lengthen the access road on the westbound entrance without a major rebuild, but they can certainly get rid of the large hump that blocks the view of those using the eastbound entrance with a backhoe, dozer, end loader and a dump truck.
I have lived in Southern West Virginia for more than 40 years and in Teays Valley for the past 12. I remember when most of our roads were winding two lanes. I tried to attend the meeting the Department of Transportation scheduled at Rock Branch Elementary a few weeks ago asking for public comment on their proposal to make that area six lanes wide. The traffic jam was so bad that it took me 40 minutes to go from the eastbound off ramp to the westbound on ramp. When I got to the westbound ramp, I turned around and went home.
I totally support making it a six-lane road!
State should approve Harrison power proposal
As a Harrison County resident and businessman, I support MonPower's proposal to acquire the 80 percent of Harrison Power Station it does not already own. This acquisition directly impacts the people and economy of north central West Virginia.
America's coal industry has been decimated by the Environmental Protection Agency's policies against coal-fired power. Declining use of coal-fired generation negatively impacts our state's economy. When these plants close down, people lose jobs and communities lose opportunities.
CONSOL's Robinson Run Mine supplied 90 percent of the coal that powered Harrison Power Plant in 2012. The mine employs nearly 400 employees, all of whom have families who depend upon the continued operation of the mine and the power plant.
MonPower needs Harrison Power Station; in West Virginia, it is roughly 1,000 megawatts short of meeting its customers' needs. It purchases power on the open market to compensate for this shortfall. This sends our dollars out-of-state and could potentially result in volatile electric rates for consumers.
The clear win-win solution to these issues is for the Public Service Commission of West Virginia to approve the proposed acquisition.
The acquisition will allow MonPower to continue generating electricity with local employees using locally mined coal. The plant produces enough electricity to exceed demand, creating a surplus that can be sold back to the market and directly benefiting customers through lower rates.
The partnership between Robinson Run, Harrison Power Plant and MonPower is vital to the region's economy. I urge you to support the acquisition; jobs, families and communities depend on it.
H. Wood Thrasher, President