Senate Bill No. 183
(By Senators Love, Hunter, Ross, Schoonover and Kessler)
[Originating in the Committee on Transportation;
reported February 3, 1998.]
A BILL to amend chapter seventeen of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article two-c, relating to
establishing an orphan road and bridge acquisition and
maintenance program in all counties; authorizing the use of
able-bodied and willing welfare recipients and regional jail
inmates to perform labor on repairs and maintenance;
requiring the department of health and human resources to
furnish the division of highways lists of names of available
welfare recipients; criteria for including a road or bridge
in the program; upgrading of certain roads and bridges;
providing for the division of highways commissioner and personnel to identify and maintain orphan roads and bridges;
and providing for termination of the program.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter seventeen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article two-c, to read
ARTICLE 2C. ORPHAN ROAD AND BRIDGE ACQUISITION PROGRAM.
§17-2C-1. Establishment of an orphan road and bridge acquisition
and maintenance program in all counties; criteria for
designation as an orphan road or bridge.
Authority is hereby granted to the West Virginia division of
highways to establish a program to acquire and maintain roads and
bridges which meet the following three criteria: (1) are in
existence as of the first day of January, one thousand nine
hundred ninety-eight; (2) are roads or bridges which the public
has a right to use, and (3) are roads or bridges not maintained
by any governmental agency. These roads and bridges are herein
designated as orphan roads and bridges.
The Legislature hereby finds and declares it to be important
for the economic and social development of the state that a
program for the identification, acquisition and maintenance of
orphan roads and bridges be undertaken by the state. In particular, the Legislature finds and declares that basic
maintenance should be performed on orphan roads and bridges to
promote the well-being of the public.
§17-2C-2. Development of program; acquisition of rights-of-way.
The West Virginia division of highways shall develop an
orphan roads and bridges identification, acquisition and
maintenance program which shall include all counties. At the
discretion of the commissioner of the division of highways,
existing and temporary employees of the division shall be
assigned to locate and designate each orphan road and bridge in
each county. These employees shall give to the commissioner of
highways, in a form proscribed by him or her, a detailed report
on acquisition, status of rights-of-way, and needed maintenance
for orphan roads and bridges in each county or highway district.
Specific contents of each report shall be designated by the
In order for a road or bridge to qualify for inclusion into
the state system, all necessary rights-of-way shall be either
dedicated or donated to the division of highways.
In the event that all property owners do not agree to
dedicate or donate the necessary rights-of-way, then any
individual, group, business or governmental entity can donate to
the state road fund a sum sufficient to cover the expense of acquiring the right-of-way that has not been dedicated or
§17-2C-3. Duties of commissioner with respect to orphan roads
and bridges; criteria for inclusion.
After reviewing the reports made to section two of this article,
the commissioner will determine whether a specific road or
bridge should be added to the state maintenance system. The
commissioner shall consider the following criteria in
reaching his or her determination: (1) The availability of
resources for maintaining the road or bridge; (2) the number
of persons served by the road or bridge; (3) the current
and anticipated use of the road or bridge; (4) the
condition of the road or bridge; (5) the availability and
suitability of alternate routes; (6) the suitability for
maintenance equipment to access and maintain the road or
bridge; (7) the existing design and layout of the road or
bridge; and (8) the number of roads and bridges accepted
into the maintenance system.
§17-2C-4. Workforce from welfare recipients and regional jail inmates; division of highways required to furnish maintenance materials.
The West Virginia department of health and human resources
shall make available to the division of highways a list of able-bodied welfare recipients who are available and able to work
a minimum of twenty hours a week at a manual labor job
maintaining orphan roads and bridges under the supervision of the
district highway office. In those counties where there are not
sufficient able-bodied welfare recipients, regional jail inmates
may be used, under guard, to perform the maintenance.
The division of highways is required to furnish trucks or
other proper motor vehicles and gravel or other required
materials to be used by the workforce created by this section in
the maintenance of the orphan roads and bridges in each district
§17C-2-5. Upgrading of roads and bridges in maintenance system.
Roads and bridges accepted into the maintenance system under
the provisions of this article are admitted only for the purposes
of maintenance. No upgrading of said roads and bridges is to be
undertaken unless otherwise determined by the commissioner of
§17C-2-6. Termination of orphan roads and bridges program;
report to the legislature.
The orphan roads and bridges acquisition and maintenance
program established pursuant to this article will terminate on
the thirty-first day of December, two thousand one.
On or before the first day of January, two thousand two, the
commissioner of the division of highways shall submit a report to
the Legislature which recounts the activities of the program and
the roads and bridges which have been accepted into the state
maintenance system. The report shall include a breakdown by
county of those roads and bridges being maintained, the estimated
costs associated with maintenance and any other information the
commissioner deems necessary. At that time, the commissioner
shall also submit proposed legislation formulating a policy for
the designation and acceptance into the state system of orphan
roads and bridges in the future.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish a state program
for acquisition and maintenance of orphan roads and bridges. It
provides for establishing a program within the division of
highways, requires rights-of-way acquisition, and inclusion of
roads and bridges into system. It authorizes the use of able- bodied and willing welfare recipients and regional jail inmates
to perform labor on maintenance of these roads and bridges;
requires the Department of Health and Human Resources to furnish
the Division of Highways lists of names of available welfare
recipients; and authorizes the commissioner to assign personnel
and to utilize temporary employees in the identification and
oversight of the orphan roads and bridges program. The bill
grants discretion to the commissioner of highways as to which
roads and bridges will be accepted into the program, and outlines
criteria to be applied in reaching those decisions. Finally, the
bill calls for the program to be terminated on December 31, 2001,
with a full report, plus proposed legislation, being made to the
Legislature on or before January 1, 2002.
This is a new article; therefore, strike-through and
underscoring have been omitted.