On June 27, Governor Jim Justice signed a proclamation scheduling a statewide vote on a road bond issue for Oct. 7.
The vote has been dubbed “The Road to Prosperity Referendum,” and it asks citizens to approve state bond sales to finance over $1.5 billion dollars in infrastructure programs statewide.
The bond includes $16 million to rebuild the southbound side of the exit 99 interchange on Interstate 79.
The measure would accelerate the timetable for projects all around the state according to Department of Highways District 7 engineer and manager Brian Cooper, including the plan to rebuild the southbound 99 exit.
Cooper also noted that the bond will not further increase taxes because the increases need are already in place, having been approved by the West Virginia Legislature and signed by Justice. The increases to Division of Motor vehicles fees, gas taxes, and vehicle sales taxes went into place on July 1.
The exit has long been a hot spot for accidents according to Weston Fire Chief Kenny James.
“Its been bad since day one,” said James adding that he felt drivers were often confused by the design of the exit.
Cooper also said that design studies have already been done for the exit 99 project, and they had, “a couple of alternatives to choose from,” to alleviate the conflict points when entering and exiting Interstate-79 at exit 99.
Cooper further noted that passage of the bond would accelerate the timetable for the rebuild to sometime within the next three or four years.