Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, West Virginia Division of Highways implemented a plan which will allow continued public service for essential roadwork and emergency situations while reducing the number of workers present at one time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transportation workers have been divided into two groups and two-week time periods have been established. For each two-week time period, one group will telework from home, completing a rigorous training course. The other group will continue roadwork and emergency response, while taking precautions to avoid COVID-19 exposure. At the end of two weeks, the groups will switch.
“There is no way we could maintain our supply chains across the country without the Division of Highways on the ground,” Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation Jimmy Wriston, P.E. said. “They make sure that accidents get cleaned up, guard rails get repaired, and issues on the highway are taken care of. To do that, you have to have a good, sound, qualified workforce. We’re going to follow every one of the Governor’s orders; we’re going to create space, wash our hands, make sure we’re not congregating in places, and take care of the highways by separating our workforce.
“I’m extremely proud of the Division of Highways. At every level of this organization today, we are rising to the occasion. We’re all leaders, and we care very much about the people we serve. We’re going to continue to serve them.”
In addition to transportation workers, many WVDOT office employees are also teleworking from home. Meetings are being held by teleconference and large trainings and conferences have been put on hold. Bridge inspection crews will continue to inspect bridges on the pre-determined schedule, but specialized crews that travel all over the state will be temporarily shut down to avoid increased exposure. Secretary Byrd White, Deputy Secretary Jimmy Wriston, and key personnel deemed essential for in-office work continue to report to their regular working locations each day.