In October 2017, Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) rolled out the $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity highway and bridge construction and maintenance program. It would prove to be the largest infrastructure investment in the history of the Mountain State.
The year 2022 marks the fifth anniversary of the Roads to Prosperity Program. The WVDOT and Department of Arts, Culture and History are marking the event with an exhibit and video at the State Culture Center in Charleston celebrating the 1,263 projects made possible by the Governor's program.
“The exhibit shows the extent of the work, in depth,” said Randall Reid-Smith, Commissioner of Arts, Culture and History. “I especially love the panel that shows the photos of the equipment, and the way Division of Highways employees have the equipment they need now to do the work.”
|On episode 21 of WV on the DOT podcast, Reid-Smith challenged Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E., to work on a special collaborative exhibit marking the fifth anniversary of Roads to Prosperity. The two sister agencies, accustomed to working together, agreed to make the exhibit a reality.
Arts, Culture and History and the WVDOT have a long history of cooperation and mutual respect. Every single project the WVDOT undertakes must go through Arts, Culture and History for historic, cultural and archaeological review before it can proceed.
"You really can't overstate the role that Arts, Culture and history plays in the development and delivery of highway projects," Wriston said. "They're involved in every single project. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has more passion for our highway system than Commissioner Reid-Smith.
"Randall is just pure joy to work with, and his energy is contagious," he said.
Gov. Justice’s vision for Roads to Prosperity led to unprecedented cooperation between state agencies and a new feeling of empowerment for state government. No longer was the focus on what couldn’t be done, but what more the WVDOT could do for the people of West Virginia. From the construction and rehabilitation of 26 different sets of bridges on Interstate 70 around Wheeling, to continued progress on Appalachian Corridor H, to renewed commitment to completion of the Coalfields Expressway, to a new pride in maintaining hundreds of miles of secondary roads, Roads to Prosperity has brought the smoothest, safest stretches of roads and bridges West Virginia has seen in decades.
“I travel all 55 counties year-round, and I always check to see that the roads are good,” Reid-Smith said. “Never have seen the roads in as good condition as they are now. It’s wonderful.
“I’m on the phone with Jimmy all the time just telling him what I see,” he said. “It’s wonderful to be working with him to celebrate this.”