Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

June 10, 2013

W.Va. Turnpike wrecks prompt safety moves

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Parkways Authority is taking steps to improve safety on the West Virginia Turnpike following several accidents.

“We’re in the busy season of travel, and it’s very congested,” Greg Barr, general manager of the West Virginia Parkways Authority, told WSAZ-TV.

Congestion and tight curves in some areas can cause problems, particularly during bad weather.

On Friday, two separate accidents in rainy weather snarled traffic for several hours. A truck tipped over near the Sharon exit and another truck smashed through a guard rail and went over a hill near the Paint Creek Exit. A day earlier, another truck turned over near the Mahan exit.

This week, the authority plans to test the turnpike’s road surface for friction quality. Adjustments will be made if needed.

“I think a lot of it is driven by that initial rain mixing with the asphalt oil, and drivers going too fast for road conditions,” Barr said.

The West Virginia State Police plans to increase patrols on the toll road to deter motorists from driving too fast.

“We don’t want anyone to get hurt out there, and the state police don’t either,” said Barr. “So if it takes some tickets to make their point, they’ll do it.”

Motorist Paul Manning said he does not take chances when he travels the turnpike.

“You have to pay attention, you have to expect the next turn,” he said. “Watch the speed on those turns and obey the signs.”

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