The lyrics of John Denver’s 1970s hit song “Country Roads, Take Me Home” wax poetically about traveling the scenic highways of Almost Heaven, West Virginia. The song still is popular worldwide, and is the official, unofficial anthem of the State of West Virginia.
John Denver was onto something good there about our beautiful country roads and spectacular scenery, even though the songwriters later admitted that the road which was their inspiration mostly wound through the neighboring State of Maryland, and only the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.
That’s tough Maryland: it is still our song and our state, thank you very much.
The late Ritchie County Circuit Judge Max DeBerry postulated during the 1950s that the Harrisville-Ellenboro section of WV Rt. 16 should be named “Redbud Road” due to the proliferation of gorgeous redbud trees blooming along that road each Spring.
Judge DeBerry and John Denver would both be sorely vexed today, were they here to see the proliferation of irritating perennial “blooms” of bright yellow which are cluttering that short four-mile stretch of highway.
We are not referring to the noxious autumn olive plants that choke the hills and hollows of our beloved state, although that is another government-sponsored plague itself.
Nope, the latest disaster provided by our idiot state government is the pollution of our beautiful West Virginia hills on the Harrisville-Ellenboro section of highway with the blooming bright yellow reflective road signs.
Make no mistake about it, we use the word “blooming” here in its adjective form to describe something, as, “It’s a blooming disgrace.” Because that is precisely what we mean, and exactly what it is – an absolute, disgusting, blooming disgrace.
The newly-installed road signs are spaced so closely together that there is literally not one single view along the Harrisville-Ellenboro highway where we poor travelers cannot see road signs.
Anyone traveling that highway will know there has been no shortage of signs in the past.
Each curve in the highway was already marked with an approaching turn and safe mileage signs to warn unfamiliar motorists, speed limit signs and a variety of signs warning of dangerous road conditions.
Alas, someone has been working at a feverish pace to put up even more road signs.
Highway crews have been as busy as little beavers the past couple of weeks, cutting off the old sign posts at the top of the ground and removing old signs to make way for the new road signs with the irritating by day – and blinding by night – bright yellow, hyper-reflective surfaces covering even the sign posts.
Drivers, meanwhile, are confronted with blazing bright yellow road signs that scream conflicting information to be processed. “35 MPH” turn warns one, with a “45 MPH” turn just a few yards beyond. Okay – which is it? Who knows?
One road sign on Ellenboro hill warns “25 MPH” turn ahead – seriously? On a secondary two-lane road with the West Virginia standard 55 mph speed limit, who in their right mind is going to slow down to 25 mph on a turn that can easily and safely be negotiated at 40 mph?
And all this money wasted on expensive, excessive and extraordinary road signs on a deteriorating, pavement crumbling secondary road with clogged ditch lines that is sliding right past the guard rails.
Where is the common sense here? Why do we fail to keep up our road and bridge maintenance and paving projects, but waste money on unnecessary and useless road signs?
Highway officials mumble some tripe about “federal funds” for new signage, but nothing for maintenance.
Our stumblebum governor can’t seem to hit his hind end with both hands, but he continues his year-long-plus daily press briefings on the COVID-19 crisis, while the Mountain State runs down the gutters.
It can’t get far though, the ditch lines are all full of mud and debris.
We haven’t had the patience yet to count the total number of road signs which have been crammed into our little four-mile section of highway, but we will. And we will let you know.
If the state really wanted to sign up some dangerous mileage, on a recent early, early morning trip to St. Marys over Route 16, we encountered more than 50 trucks flying down that 12-mile section of highway before daylight.
Looks like it could sure use a couple hundred or so bright yellow reflective road signs.