BUCKHANNON – Surrounded by a sea of all-new hard machinery, Gov. Jim Justice debuted a massive addition to the West Virginia Division of Highways’ road maintenance equipment fleet during an unveiling event today at the DOH Equipment Division state offices in Buckhannon.
The event showcased dozens of new tandem and single-axle dump trucks, mowers, several Gradall hydraulic excavators, and more; just a portion of the nearly 280 machines and vehicles that will be distributed to all 10 DOH Districts and in all 55 counties across West Virginia by this fall.
“Look around, for crying out loud, it is truly unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said during the event – the first visit any governor has made to the Equipment Division state offices in 30 years. “I’ve been to a lot of places and, other than a dealership, I have never been to a place like this.”
A total of 160 machines and vehicles have already been delivered throughout the entire state as part of the most recent wave of equipment purchases, with new items coming into the Equipment Division offices every day.
Included among the deliveries have been 10 new Gradalls; do-it-all machines for road maintenance work. Gov. Justice personally delivered the state’s first new Gradall during an event in Marshall County last week. More of these top-of-the-line excavators are ready to roll out, as are many of the other machines and vehicles that were on hand for today’s event.
“I’ve never seen a place that had this much brand new equipment,” Gov. Justice said. “And this is only a fraction of it. There’s all kinds more coming and coming.”
In addition to the equipment already delivered, another 119 pieces of machinery have been purchased and are expected to arrive by this fall. Included among them are an extra 10 Gradalls, bringing the total across West Virginia to 20 – two for every DOH District – to enhance road maintenance capabilities in every county statewide as part of the Gov. Justice’s recent directive to make fixing West Virginia’s back roads the DOH’s top priority.
Between the equipment already delivered and the additional equipment that has been purchased, DOH maintenance crews will have at least 279 new pieces of equipment at their disposal in the coming months. These items include the 20 Gradalls, plus 60 tandem-axle dump trucks, 60 single-axle dump trucks, 20 F-550 dump trucks, 23 DOH-grade mowers, 11 cranes, 8 pavers, 2 brine trailers, and 75 crew cab pickup trucks.
“You’ve never had, as a governor, a business guy,” Gov. Justice said. “You’ve never had a business guy who looks at things with a vision and doesn’t want anything, who looks at things with a vision, and says, ‘This is what we can do, now let’s get at it.’ We don’t need to mess around with it until the cows come home and study it. Let’s get at it.”
“This is amazing,” Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E. said. “This has never happened before with Highways, to have this much equipment for our guys to get out there and get these roads fixed with, it’s never happened before.”
The new machines and vehicles will be equally distributed across all DOH Districts for use in every county within the state, with additional maintenance equipment purchases possible in the months ahead.
“If you’re one of those who are hurting, we haven’t forgot you,” Gov. Justice said. “We still have a lot to do.”