Around the State

Nearly 1,000 W.Va. bridges structurally deficient

CHARLESTON — Federal highway data show that nearly 1,000 bridges in West Virginia are structurally deficient, and about 1,600 others are functionally obsolete.

On a sufficiency scale of 0 to 100, the Federal Highway Administration rates seven bridges in the state as 0.

But West Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Walker says that the federal ratings don’t mean the state’s bridges are unsafe.WVstamp

The ratings serve as a guideline to prioritize the use of federal funds. Any bridge that scores below 80 is eligible for renovation or rehabilitation. A score below 50 makes a bridge eligible for federal replacement.

About 2,700 bridges in the state, nearly 40 percent, are eligible for replacement or renovation.

States are required by the federal government to inspect bridges at least every two years. If specific problems or deficiencies are found, the state regularly inspects bridges on a more frequent basis.

Bridges rated as functionally obsolete were constructed to standards different that those used today.

“Functionally obsolete has to do with the design of the bridge,” said Nancy Singer, a Federal Highways Administration spokeswoman. “Let’s say you have a bridge that was built with two lanes four years ago, but today you need four lanes. There’s nothing wrong with the condition of the bridge, but it needs to serve greater traffic, so in that sense it’s obsolete.”



Development company buys Martinsburg Mall: The Martinsburg Mall has been sold to South Carolina-based Paramount Development Corp.

Media outlets report that Paramount plans to maintain the 670,000-square-foot property as a shopping center.

Paramount affiliate Martinsburg Development Partners LLC will hold title to the property.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

The mall’s former owner, Mountain State University, closed in December 2012 after it lost its accreditation. Paramount bought the mall from a company that had been controlled by the school, Mountain State University Building Co.



N.J. woman indicted in prison camp escape: A New Jersey woman accused of helping an inmate escape from a federal prison camp in West Virginia has been indicted.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld says 39-year-old Jamie Angel Clayton of Edgewater, N.J., is in custody pending a detention hearing.

If she’s convicted of aiding in the escape of 42-year-old Eugene Nicholas Cobbs, she could get up to five years in prison.

Clayton was arrested last Thursday in New York City, but the search for Cobbs continues. He’s charged with escape in the same indictment.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service says Cobbs walked away from FCI Morgantown on April 10.

Cobbs crashed a small plane loaded with drugs in Wheeling and fled in 2004. He was captured in 2008 in Guadalajara, Mexico, and sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.


FBI honors 2 W.Va. troopers killed in 2012: The FBI honored two West Virginia State Police troopers who were killed during a 2012 traffic stop.

The agency said Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman were remembered Thursday at the FBI’s complex in Clarksburg at an annual memorial ceremony for fallen West Virginia officers.

Bailey and Workman were fatally shot last August following a traffic stop near the Interstate 79 interchange at Wallback. Their assailant also shot and wounded a Roane County deputy and a tow truck driver before he was killed in a shootout with other officers.



Postal Service issuing stamp for W.Va.’s 150th: West Virginia is getting a lasting tribute for its 150th birthday, courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service.

A new Forever stamp will debut June 20 as part of West Virginia’s sesquicentennial celebration.

The image is unmistakably Mountain State: tree-shrouded hills stretch off to the horizon, fringed by morning mists.

Photographer Roger Spencer captured the shot in Pocahontas County. The West Virginia native says the Postal Service approached him about using the image after seeing it online.

Spencer readily agreed. He says the mountains are West Virginia’s defining characteristic and the image casts the state in a positive light.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and a Postal Service executive will dedicate the stamp at a state Capitol ceremony. A commemorative sesquicentennial coin debuted May 20 and sold out within 12 hours.


Average worker earned $629 more in 2012: The average worker in West Virginia made $629 more in 2012 compared with the year before.

WorkForce West Virginia said Friday that workers earned an average of $39,721 in the state last year, up 1.6 percent from 2011.

Workers in Boone County continue to have the highest annual average wages at $54,374, followed by Mingo ($49,967), McDowell ($46,679), Marshall ($46,242), and Putnam ($44,646).

Wirt County had the lowest wages at $25,502, followed by Tucker ($25,830), Summers ($27,398), Pocahontas ($27,473) and Hampshire ($28,629).

Among all industries, securities and commodities brokerage firms paid the highest average annual wages of $126,234. Software publishers were next at $91,676. Coal mining was fifth at $84,751.

The data includes workers covered by state and federal unemployment insurance programs.


Rabies cases up slightly so far in 2013: West Virginia epidemiologists have seen a small increase in the percentage of animals with rabies so far this year.

According to data from the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, about 10 percent of the more than 140 animals that were tested in January through March, tested positive.

The animals that tested positive included eight raccoons, four skunks, a cat and a cow. Most cases were in eastern counties.

— Compiled with information from the Associated Press


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