The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) is lowering the speed limit, asking for increased law enforcement, and adding warning signs in a steep mountainside work zone on Allegheny Mountain, located on US 33 in Pendleton County.
On Thursday, October 5, 2023, a tractor-trailer wrecked in the US 33 work zone, seriously injuring the driver. Traffic through the work zone is currently controlled by traffic lights, warning signs, and a mandatory stop at the top of the mountain for truck drivers to check their brakes.
The WVDOH is reducing the speed limit through the work zone to 30 mph, and adding an additional message board to the ascent to reinforce the mandatory stop and inform drivers of the potential stopped condition. The WVDOH has requested extra law enforcement in the work zone to ensure truck drivers comply with the mandatory break check and observe the speed limit. The state Public Service Commission will also be checking trucks on the mountain.
In March 2023, Phoenix Excavating LLC was awarded a contract for $1,286,039 to install reinforced guardrails on US 33 to help protect traffic on a mountain switchback in Pendleton County. The project will build a large retaining wall and install reinforced guardrails along US 33 as it descends Allegheny Mountain. The guardrail project is intended to keep vehicles from going off the side of the mountain.
The heavy-duty guardrail system includes guardrails on both the front and back of each individual post, and features two tiers of guardrail. The posts supporting the guardrails will also be sunk deeper into the earth than standard guardrails.
The WVDOH will continue to evaluate any necessary signage or traffic control device that could have a positive effect on the traffic flow for this area.
However, Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E., said the most important safety component in the state’s work zones is the person behind the wheel.
“There would be far fewer accidents if drivers would pay attention and obey the law in work zones,” Wriston said. “That’s what keeps you safe and it’s what keeps our workers safe.
“Please, hear this: Obey the law in work zones,” Wriston said.