Latest News

Renewable Energy-Powered Manufacturing Coming to West Virginia

Date: September 21, 2022

BHE Renewables has entered into an agreement with West Virginia to purchase more than 2,000 acres of land in Ravenswood to be developed as a first-of-its-kind renewable energy microgrid-powered industrial site.

Precision Castparts Corp. will be the first company to locate on the site and will develop a state-of-the-art titanium melt facility that will use 100% renewable energy to manufacture titanium products for the aerospace and other industries.

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority will work with BHE Renewables to bring additional businesses to the site to take advantage of the prime manufacturing location and renewable energy infrastructure.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the fact that West Virginia will help lead the way into a new era of renewable energy microgrid-powered manufacturing,” Governor Justice said. Read more.

Carbon Capture and Storage Station to Be Built in Mountain State

Date: September 21, 2022

Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) announced that it has selected West Virginia for a 1,800 MW combined-cycle natural gas power station utilizing carbon capture and storage. Following permitting and construction, the project will go into operation later this decade, according to a news release. The project was made possible by the advancement of the recently passed federal legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which expanded the 45Q federal tax credit for carbon capture.

“Competitive Power Ventures’ multi-billion-dollar investment in this combined-cycle power plant demonstrates that West Virginia can provide natural gas to markets in our neighboring states, as needed energy supplies for our allies abroad, as a manufacturing input here at home and across America, as well as power generation here in West Virginia,” said US Senator Shelley Moore Capito. Read more.

WV Licensing Fees Update

Date: August 17, 2022

The West Virginia State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers has announced that a reduction in fees for licensees became effective on August 1, 2022. Per SB334 (passed during the 2022 legislative session), all fees outlined in West Virginia engineering law (specifically Legislative Rule 7-1-13.4) will be reduced by approximately 10%.

All fees submitted with a postmark date of August 1, or later, should be paid at the lower rate. Access the fees document here.

Project Will Upgrade Downtown Wheeling Streets

Date: August 17, 2022

Major upgrades to downtown Wheeling have been funded, bid upon, and awarded to Triton Construction Inc., WVNews reports. The $31.9 million project will include the addition of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curbs and street upgrades to 1.85 miles of roads. Other upgrades will be made to traffic lights, sidewalks, and general beautification.

Of the funding, $16.25 million comes from a US Department of Transportation Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant. The City of Wheeling is contributing $1.9 million toward construction costs and $100,000 toward design and engineering.

West Virginia’s Aerospace Industry Gets a Boost from Satellite

Date: August 17, 2022

West Virginia is on its way to launching the state’s second small satellite, thanks to more than $900,000 in US Economic Development Administration’s Assistance to Coal Communities grant. The grant supports projects that advance economic diversification, aerospace manufacturing, and provides STEM training opportunities in areas severely affected by the declining use of coal.

The money will not only support the Innovative Orbital Test Array mission, or IOTA, in which a second SmallSat will be produced and launched as STF-1’s proof of concept, but it will also enable the opening of the West Virginia Small Satellite Center of Excellence. The center will be a hub for small satellite research, development, testing, production, and commercialization.

West Virginia’s first small satellite, STF-1, launched from New Zealand in 2018 and vastly exceeded the usual three-month lifespan for a SmallSat – it’s still up there, transmitting from outer space, more than 1,300 days later.

A team from West Virginia University and the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium is leading the project. Find out more.

Local Water Infrastructure Projects Receive Grant Funding

Date: June 16, 2022

Governor Jim Justice has allocated the first grant awards from his new Economic Enhancement Grant Fund. A total of $12.8 million has been awarded to three water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the state.

The fund is managed by the West Virginia Water Development Authority. Working together with the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council and the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, the fund will provide matching grants to municipalities for use in upgrading infrastructure such as water and sewer systems.

The first grant recipients are the City of Lewisburg, which gets $7.586 million to improve its water system. The City of Ripley is receiving $3.433 million to construct a wastewater treatment plant for Ripley and the community of Evans. This completes the funding for Ripley’s $31.158 million project. And the City of Richwood gets $1.854 million for its Hinkle Mountain/Little Laurel water extension project. The $12.129 million project includes upgrades to the city’s water plant and an extension of water service to 118 customers.

“We all know that we still have places in West Virginia where water and sewer access isn’t as reliable as it should be,” Justice said in a news release. “Some of these projects would have been dead in the water without this funding.”

Battery Energy Storage Has Potential in West Virginia

Date: June 16, 2022

State lawmakers from the Joint Standing Energy Committee were recently advised by two industry representatives about the potential for battery energy storage in West Virginia. They discussed the usefulness of this type of storage to help power the state, which is rapidly expanding in the US energy market, Government Technology reported.

Battery systems can be used to store energy from various sources - like wind and solar - until customers need it. The legislators were considering the future of this technology in the state.

One of the presenters told the committee members that West Virginia is behind in pursuing battery energy pilot projects. In 2015, the state repealed a renewable energy portfolio standard that it had adopted in 2009, which would have required some electric utilities to own credits in an amount equal to at least 25% of the electric energy it sold to retail customers in the preceding calendar year.

Governor Announces $147.6 Million Project to Connect Welch with Coalfields Expressway

Date: May 16, 2022

Governor Jim Justice hosted an event on May 13 near the site where the state’s newest major highway (through his Roads To Prosperity program) will connect the Town of Welch with the Coalfields Expressway, according to a news release.

“This announcement today means we are one step closer to bringing this area of West Virginia to the world once and for all,” said Justice. “We have waited and waited in southern West Virginia for way too long. From what I understand, this section right here is a linchpin section and then the sections beyond that will move even faster.”

Justice joined officials with the West Virginia Division of Highways to announce that he has approved the bid award for this $147.6 million project to Bizzack Construction of Lexington, Kentucky.

Roadwork will involve building a 5.12-mile section of highway from Welch to WV 16, connecting the southern West Virginia town with the Coalfields Expressway.

The project includes the construction of two ramps, two bridges, and will require more than 16 million yards of excavation. More than 10,000 feet of large diameter drainage pipe will also be put in place for the project.

WV Highway Project Announcement

WV to Get $54 Million for Bridge Repair and Appalachian Development Highway System

Date: May 16, 2022

US Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that West Virginia will receive $54,790,795 from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as part of Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations. Of that funding, $40,000,000 will go towards bridge replacement rehabilitation and the remaining $14,790,795 will go towards the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS). Read more.

Proposed AV Research and Testing Facility Gaining Regional

Date: May 16, 2022

The Marion Regional Development Corporation was named master developer of the old Coke Works Site in East Side by Fairmont City Council. This means the economic development agency will begin working to develop the Fairmont Transportation Research Campus, an autonomous vehicle testing and research site, the Times West Virginian reports.

According to MRDC President Nick Fantasia, the goal is to complete water and sewer funding this year and dirt funding completed the following year to allow black top to be laid sometime in 2024. “So if all the dominoes lined up right, we could potentially have a significant piece of this done in 60 months,” Fantasia said.

Many details of the build have been planned out, but MRDC does not have all of the estimated $32.7 million they need for the project that is gaining interest in the sector. Fantasia said several big names in autonomous research and vehicle development have been in contact with the MRDC since the project was made public.

New Battery Facility Brings Jobs for Former Mine Workers

Date: April 19, 2022

SPARKZ Inc., a battery startup that intends to commercialize a cobalt-free lithium battery in the US, plans to open a research and development facility in the heart of coal country in West Virginia. It is hiring displaced mine workers to do factory production work, Yahoo Finance reports.

Removing cobalt from clean energy production reduces the environmental impact of the process and lowers costs. "We must end our reliance on cobalt and China's dominance in the global battery supply chain," said Dr. Sanjiv Malhotra, founder and CEO of SPARKZ. "We are delighted to make West Virginia our home and aid the state's transition from its roots in coal mining to the new energy economy."

Vantage Ventures, an initiative to scale innovative technology companies in West Virginia, helped SPARKZ secure equity financing and select a space for the research and development facility.

West Virginia Water Projects Receive Funding

Date: April 19, 2022

West Virginia has received funding for water resources projects and programs through the US Army Corps of Engineers. The funding comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

"This latest round of IIJA funding will help maintain important projects such as Summersville Lake, support water and wastewater services in central and southern West Virginia, and keep our communities safe from flood hazards," US Senator Shelley Moore Capito stated in a news release.

The funding will be invested in 10 areas within the state, the largest being $27.5 million for operation and maintenance at Jennings Randolph Lake, $6.5 million for Summersville Lake, more than $2 million for Central West Virginia Environmental Infrastructure, and $1.5 million for Southern West Virginia Environmental Infrastructure.

Infrastructure Investments Should Include Licensed Professionals, Experts Say

Date: March 14, 2022

In an opinion piece published in the West Virginia Gazette, David Meadows, P.E., and Judy Proctor, a licensed CPA, advocated for the importance of professional licensure in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public and in being sure funds are spent wisely. In particular, they advised that licensed professionals should be used whenever possible for infrastructure projects funded by billions of dollars from the federal infrastructure bill.

“The recent bridge collapse near Pittsburgh underscores the urgent need to shore up critical infrastructure with the skills and expertise of licensed professionals,” they wrote. “This need goes beyond just building new roads and bridges. It extends to upgrading and modernizing our existing roads and bridges to ensure they are safe.”

State Lawmakers in Agreement Over Fossil Fuel Issues

Date: March 14, 2022

Legislators in the West Virginia Senate and House agreed on minor changes to energy and environmental bills, including one that would give the state treasurer the power to restrict banking contracts with financial institutions that divest from fossil fuel companies, the West Virginia Gazette reports. Critics of the bill say it may be unconstitutional.

State leaders were quoted as saying they wanted to send a message that the state does not want to do business with companies that divest from the fossil fuel industry.

Governor Signs Bill Allowing Nuclear Power in West Virginia

Date: February 16, 2022

In an effort to move the state away from its dependence on coal, Governor Jim Justice has signed a bill eliminating the state's longstanding ban on nuclear power. He said any move toward using nuclear power plants should be done cautiously and thoughtfully, NPR reports.

In recent years, nuclear power has been increasingly considered a relatively safe energy option that produces less damaging emissions, making it an attractive option for combatting climate change. It had been banned in West Virginia since 1996.

Bridge Design Contest for Middle and High Schoolers to Award Cash Prizes

Date: February 16, 2022

A contest aimed at inspiring future engineers is going on this month in West Virginia. Middle and high schoolers can register to compete in a bridge design contest that will award cash prizes. Needed materials and information can be found at the Bridge Design & Build Contest website. The contest qualifying round ends on Sunday, February 27.

Gas Pipeline Gets One Step Closer to Implementation

Date: January 19, 2022

The Mountain Valley Pipeline gained a water protection permit from the Department of Environmental Protection for construction in West Virginia, The Hill reported. The 300-mile pipeline will extend into Virginia, where approval is facing a fight in the US 4th Circuit Court after having received initial approval. The project will cost $3-$6.2 billion and is expected to be completed this year.

Environmentalists oppose the construction of the pipeline by the Army Corps of Engineers because it could impact 12 acres of wetlands and miles of streams, according to the West Virginia News.

Nuclear Power Could Return to West Virginia

Date: January 19, 2022

In spite of opposition from some, State Senate President Craig Blair said the body will consider lifting West Virginia’s ban on nuclear power this session, reported. At a briefing of two interim committees, Government Operations and Government Organization, eight presenters gave their views on the controversial topic.

Marcus Nichol, director of New Reactors for the Nuclear Energy Institute, said newer, advanced reactors are cheaper and safer than older ones. Opponents of nuclear power are historically wary of nuclear waste. The waste can be recycled; currently, however, government plans focus on interim storage facilities.

Nuclear Energy Could Offer Alternative to Coal Industry

Date: December 15, 2021

Lawmakers in West Virginia will reconsider legislation that would repeal the state’s 25-year-old ban on construction of new nuclear power facilities. The shift in thinking stems from efforts to cut carbon emissions and replace jobs lost in the wake of closing coal plants throughout the state. Several other states have worked to lift nuclear bans and partnered with the federal government to build reactors in recent years, according to Bloomberg Law.

FirstEnergy Plans to Construct Network of Five Solar Farms

Date: December 15, 2021

FirstEnergy Corp. is seeking approval to build a network of five utility-grade solar farms throughout its state territory, the Williamson Daily News reports. If the West Virginia Public Service Commission approves the plans, construction will begin in 2022 and conclude in 2025. The farms, which would generate 50 megawatts of renewable energy, would be the company’s first solar projects.

Toxic Levels of Selenium Found in State’s Ecosystems Due to Coal Mining

Date: December 15, 2021

A toxic element has been found entering the food chain in West Virginia due to coal mining, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. Selenium was found in insects sampled from the Mud River basin in Lincoln County. The insects can then be ingested by land animals, according to the researchers who published their findings in Environmental Science and Technology. The watershed was the site of drainage from the Hobet Mine until it closed in 2015.

West Virginia has the highest toxic industrial selenium pollution levels in the country, according to EPA data the Gazette-Mail analyzed.

How West Virginia Will Benefit from Biden’s Infrastructure Package

Date: November 17, 2021

President Joe Biden’s recently passed $1 trillion infrastructure package includes a reauthorization of the Appalachian Regional Commission. This provides $1 billion for economic and community development activities in Appalachia, including broadband deployment. Under the legislation, West Virginia will also receive significant funds for a wide array of projects for highway repair, bridge maintenance, drinking water infrastructure projects and others. Find out more here.

West Virginia Rep. David McKinley, P.E., who has been a member of the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers since 1972, was one of 13 Republicans who backed the legislation.

Study Reveals Full Effects of Mountaintop Mining on Endangered Species

Date: November 17, 2021

A study of satellite imagery and water-quality data has found that mountaintop mining has serious detrimental effects on aquatic life, often miles away from where the mining occurs, according to The study, centered on Central Appalachia, was published in the journal Plos One.

Toxic levels of aluminum, copper, lead and manganese, among other metals, as well as high acidity levels were found in 4,000 monitoring sites in various watersheds. “This research expands the ability for state and federal agencies to make better decisions that directly affect vulnerable people and wildlife,” said Mike Evans, a conservation data scientist and coauthor of the study.

Brownfields Site in Marion County May Have New Future

Date: October 19, 2021

The city of Fairmount in Marion County has issued an RFP for development of a 67-acre tract of land formerly known as the Fairmont Coke Works and Sharon Steel site. A brownfields project was recently completed to remediate the land. Officials are hopeful the site will be put to good use soon, the Fairmont News reports.

The city’s director of planning hopes the project will help the city’s economy and bolster surrounding neighborhoods. “We also want something that creates jobs, increases our economic output here in Fairmont and, even complements some of our community needs, such as maybe recreational or infrastructure assets,” Strait told the Fairmont News. Mixed-use purposes would be ideal, perhaps storefronts on one section of the property and industrial or manufacturing on the other.

Planned Gateway Park Moving Ahead on Wheeling Island

Date: October 19, 2021

Construction is set to begin on the Wheeling Gateway Park, a project that has been in the planning stages for two and a half years, The Intelligencer Reports. The park will be located on the riverfront banks of Wheeling Island.

The announcement came on the heels of news from the governor’s office last month that the state of West Virginia will rehabilitate the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. The new park will sit near the base of the bridge.

According to the Wheeling Gateway Park Master Plan, the overall project will include a terrace plaza with a shade structure, an overlook plaza with a view of the river and downtown, green space, street rehabilitation, riverbank stabilization, river access, trails and other outdoor features.

WV Taxpayers Would Foot the Bill for Work at Coal-Fired Plants

Date: September 13, 2021

Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power are asking state regulators to approve making West Virginia customers responsible for $48 million annually to cover wastewater compliance work at three coal-fired generating plants in the state, reports the Herald-Dispatch. The companies are asking West Virginia customers to shoulder all of the costs for these planned upgrades because Kentucky and Virginia utility regulators denied the companies’ requests to approve the upgrades required to keep the plants compliant with wastewater discharge guidelines. Critics object to the proposal that would make West Virginia taxpayers carry the full financial burden of the upgrades when they believe the plants should be retired.

Governor Reemphasizes Highway Projects

Date: September 13, 2021

Three major highway projects in the state remain a top priority for Gov. Jim Justice, according to WVNews, and he plans to use federal stimulus dollars to complete them. The Coalfields Expressway, King Coal Highway, and Corridor H, Justice said, are important to improve the state’s economic development, but they have taken too long. “It has taken 28 or 29 years to get it (Coalfields Expressway) from Slab Fork to Mullins,” he said. “Good gosh, we’ve got to do better than that.”

Centennial Celebration for WV PEs

Date: August 11, 2021

The 100th anniversary of West Virginia PEs and architects was celebrated July 27, as reported by the Weston Democrat. The West Virginia State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers held its first meeting on November 21, 1921, at the Coyle and Richardson Building in downtown Charleston. Today, nearly 9,100 professional engineers licensed to practice in the state.

Morgan County Growth Spurs Infrastructure Development

Date: August 11, 2021

To accommodate a recent growth spurt, Morgan County is expanding its water and sewer infrastructure, reports WDVM. The growth is attributed to the pandemic flight of Washingtonians to a less crowded and less expensive setting.

The county commissioner says the county is working with Berkeley Springs Water Works and the Warm Springs Public Service District on preliminary engineering. Additionally, a lagoon system, a batch plant, and a package plant are planned to be taken offline, and a highway bypass is in the works.

A potential partnership between Johnson County and Morgan County to bring sewer services to the future I-69 corridor, however, is off the table. The plan was for a new $3.1 million wastewater plant in Waverly.

Pipeline Project Slowed Over Permitting Issue

Date: July 21, 2021

The Mountain Valley Pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia hit a snag when the US Environmental Protection Agency asked the Army Corps of Engineers to deny a key construction permit for water crossings, reports Engineering News-Record. The project is nearly 92% complete, but last year a federal court struck down blanket permits, such as the one held by the Corps that allowed project-wide water crossings without individual impact review. Now, pipeline yare working toward a different permit that includes review of hundreds of water body crossings.

EPA’s wetlands branch chief said, “While EPA recognizes the proposed project’s purpose and need for providing transmission of natural gas, the extent of anticipated impacts, notably the large amount of temporary discharges from the proposal to the aquatic resources, warrants careful review.” According to the EPA, the project would permanently impact 1,198 linear ft of streams and temporarily affect 38,312 linear ft. It also would permanently affect 0.5 acres of wetlands, temporarily affect 13.92 acres, and convert 3.7 acres of forested and scrub-shrub wetlands to emergent wetlands.

WV and WY Senators Spar Over Hyperloop

Date: July 21, 2021

Development of the Virgin Hyperloop certification center on 800 acres of land crossing Tucker and Grant counties recently sparked a testy exchange between US senators, according to Metro News. US Senate Energy Chairman Joe Manchin, D-WV, supports development of the emerging technology, but US Senator John Barrasso, R-WY, offered an amendment to stop hyperloop’s eligibility for an Energy Department loan. Barrasso called hyperloop “expensive science fiction” and compared it to high-speed rail. “If high-speed rail is any guide,” he said, “this bill would allow millions in taxpayer money to be loaned to companies that will end up being hyperloops to nowhere.” Manchin, however, called the project “a giant leap forward into the future of transportation” and an opportunity for domestic manufacturing and job creation.

Barrasso’s amendment ended in a tie vote, killing it.

Mining Reclamation Program at Risk

Date: June 8, 2021

The state’s mining reclamation program is at risk of slipping into insolvency, according to a new state legislative audit, reports the Gazette Mail. The audit report, presented to a joint panel of state senators and delegates, “finds that the state Department of Environmental Protection has failed to comply with state and federal law in its reclamation program oversight, resulting in missed opportunities to financially shore up a program that will keep requiring hundreds of millions of dollars to reclaim permit sites per federal regulations.”

The report finds that the state’s current per acre coal mining reclamation bond limits may not be enough to guarantee the solvency of the program. “Rising reclamation costs have devalued permit bonds since the current bonding limits were established by state code in 2001, the report observes, while the cost of reclamation has increased significantly.”

An article in Grist that was published before the state audit was released, called the state’s reclamation funding system “broken.” An attorney for the Sierra Club said, “All of the backstops that are supposed to be in place to make sure that at the end of the day nobody has to live next to an abandoned coal mine — all of those backstops are now threatened.”

Meanwhile, a civil engineering team from WVU is in the final stages of developing a 10-year research project to restore a 40-acre abandoned mine refuse site in Greenbrier County. The project will use geomorphic landform design to mitigate acid mine drainage originating from the waste pile.

Council Rejects Engineering Education Proposal for Wheeling

Date: June 8, 2021

The West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education rejected Bluefield State College’s request to bring a new Engineering and Manufacturing Center to Wheeling, according to the Intelligencer. City leaders enthusiastically greeted the proposal and intended to lease the college space at the former Ohio Valley Medical Center campus. The proposal, however, met with opposition from West Virginia Northern Community College, Wheeling University, and West Liberty University due to concerns about bringing another institution of higher learning into the local market. The article says, “the council’s decision to nix Bluefield’s proposal focused on a lack of demonstrated workforce demand for the proposed programs.”

Engineering Attention Grabber: The Wellsburg Bridge

Date: May 14, 2021

Anyone looking for a case study on the excitement of engineering need look no further than Wellsburg. Over the past month, the new prefabricated Wellsburg Bridge was floated down the Ohio River, pivoted, and lifted into place, where it will connect Brooke County, West Virginia’s Route 2 and Brilliant, Ohio’s Route 7. The Division of Highways live streamed the entire trip. The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2022, reports Metro News.

Tony Clark, P.E., shares his thoughts in this video from WVDOT.

Tank Exemption Bill Fails

Date: May 14, 2021

A bill (H.B. 2598) that would have eased regulation of oil and gas storage tanks near drinking water intakes did not pass the legislature, reports the Gazette. The law, in part, requires tank owners or operators to ensure secondary containment area inspections once every 14 days, and have a PE or other qualified inspector inspect tank systems once every three years. The bill would have exempted the category of tanks closest to water intakes holding up to nearly 9,000 gallons of oil or gas from regulation under the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. The law was enacted in 2014 after a spill of approximately 10,000 gallons of a chemical used to clean coal contaminated the drinking water of about 300,000 West Virginia residents.

West Virginia Permits Tax-Free Savings for Licensing, Certification Fees

Date: April 22, 2021

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed legislation on March 19 allowing residents to save and invest funds to cover the costs associated with pursuing a trade or occupation and for business startups.

The Jumpstart Savings Act (H.B. 2001) authorizes tax-free contributions up to $25,000 each year to a state-managed savings account for the following expenses: 1) The purchase of tools, equipment, or supplies to complete an apprenticeship program or earn an associate’s degree or certificate for a specified occupation or profession, 2) Fees for required certification or licensure to practice a trade or occupation, and 3) Costs incurred that are necessary to establish and operate a business for a specified occupation or profession.

A savings account can be opened by an individual with a minimum deposit of $25 beginning July 1, 2022 with a single person named as a beneficiary. If the designated beneficiary is a West Virginia resident under the age of 18, the state treasurer will contribute $100 from the Jumpstart Savings Expense Fund. This contribution will also apply if an account has been opened within 180 days after a beneficiary has enrolled in an apprenticeship or educational program. Qualified employers can make matching contributions to an employee’s account and receive a nonrefundable tax credit up to $5,000 per year for each employee.

Tax on Professional Services Proposed

Date: April 22, 2021

The West Virginia Senate passed an amended income tax bill (H.B. 3300) by an 18-16 vote on April 7. This bill includes a statewide sales tax increase from 6% to 8%.

The legislation has raised concerns because it could place a 3% tax on professional services like accounting, architecture, engineering, and legal services.

Nitro-St. Albans Bridge Project Kicks Off

Date: April 22, 2021

West Virginia state leaders recently held a groundbreaking for a $225 million West Virginia DOT construction project involving the Nitro-St. Albans Bridge.

Nitro-St. Albans Bridge Project Kicks Off

Constructing a new bridge over the Kanawah River is part of the DOT’s I-64 multi-year improvement project that will widen I-64 from the US 35/I-64 Interchange to just east of the Nitro Interchange. The goal is to widen I-64 to improve traffic volume capacity, enhance safety, and support continued economic growth in the area. According to the DOT, the bridge now carries approximately 70,000 vehicles per day. An increase in traffic volume has resulted in congestion, sudden stops, and collisions along I-64.

Commuters recently expressed excitement and nervousness about the improvement project with a 2023 projected completion date. Once complete, the new bridge will be called the Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge.

Highway Division Needs Engineers

Date: March 15, 2021

The West Virginia Division of Highways needs engineers, reports Metro News. A spokesperson said the agency needs to replace those engineers who are retiring. “What we’re trying to do is hire in some engineer trainees out of school, When someone retires, not only do you lose that knowledge as it goes out the door. That’s not something you replace overnight, you need to look long term into the future and hire people who can learn those things over a period of years,” the spokesperson said. The agency is seeing applicants from the University of Nebraska, Ohio University, and George Mason University in addition to the schools that are regular recruitment stops: WVU, Bluefield State, Fairmont State, WVU Tech, University of Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech.

Engineering Education Controversy Comes to Wheeling

Date: March 15, 2021

Wheeling’s efforts to bring Bluefield State College to the city are stirring some controversy over engineering education, according to the Intelligencer. The city and Bluefield State are collaborating to establish a new Engineering and Manufacturing Center, but officials at West Virginia Northern Community College, West Liberty University, and Wheeling University have expressed “strong disappointment” in the move. They argue the move will cause “negative consequences” for one or all of the local institutions, all of which dispute the assertion that there is a local void in engineering degree programs.

County To Hire Staff PE

Date: February 11, 2021

The Harrison County Commission voted 2-1 to hire an on-staff engineer, who is required to hold a West Virginia PE license, reports the Exponent Telegram. The commissioners who supported the new position believe the move will help the county save money. Commissioner Patsy Trecost say the engineer could assist with projects such as courthouse remodeling, removal of the courthouse jail annex, new roofing at the Public Safety Building in Nutter Fort, the law enforcement headquarters and storage facility in downtown Clarksburg and work at the Harrison County Senior Citizens Center. The salary range begins at $77,000.

Study: While Natural Gas Boomed, Local Economies Didn’t

Date: February 11, 2021

Despite the natural gas boom, the top gas-producing counties in the Ohio Valley still lag behind the rest of the nation economically, according to a study by the nonprofit think tank Ohio River Valley Institute. The study covers 22 Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia counties that produce more than 90% of the region’s natural gas.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported on the study. “What we’re seeing is almost the definition of the resource curse, and that is great economic growth with very little, if any, impact on local measures of prosperity,” Sean O’Leary, senior researcher at the institute, said of the report during a webinar last week that focused on the so-far unrealized dream of a petrochemical boom in Appalachia.

Wind Farm Construction Begins

Date: January 27, 2021

On the Grant-Mineral county line, construction has started on a 23-turbine wind farm called Black Rock Wind, according to Metro News. The project, owned by Clearway Energy, is slated for completion before the end of 2021. Each turbine will generate 5 megawatts, and the power will be provided to Toyota and American Electric Power. “We still don’t want to forget, in any way, our coal mine jobs, our natural gas jobs, or our oil jobs and how important they are,” said Governor Justice. “But we have embraced our role as an all-encompassing energy state. We want to welcome alternatives, and this wind farm will absolutely amp up our wind production in this great state in a big way and will help us move forward with great jobs.”

The Bechtel-Reed & Reed Joint Venture will engineer, procure, and construct the farm. The Siemens-Gamesa SG 5.0-145 wind turbines will be on 107.5-meter tall towers.

Paul A. Hornor, Jr., P.E.

Date: January 27, 2021

Paul A. Hornor, Jr., P.E., a member of WVSPE and NSPE since 1962 and former leader of the oldest engineering firm in the state, passed away on January 15 at the age of 85. In 1902, brothers Carl L. Hornor and Paul S. Hornor opened Hornor Brothers Engineers, centered in Clarksburg. The firm was instrumental to the development of the city and north-central region of the state, providing surveying and engineering services for railroad, coal mine, and municipal projects. Hornor started his career at the company in 1963 and became president in 1983. Read the September/October 2019 PE magazine article about the firm and the obituary in the Exponent Telegram.

Firms in West Virginia and Wales Launch Energy Storage Partnership

Date: December 16, 2020

A Monongalia County manufacturer has been selected as the US partner for a Welsh technology firm that will be building a new facility for energy storage development in Morgantown. The facility is expected to bring up to 1,000 manufacturing and technology jobs to the state. According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the partnership between DST Innovations in Wales and Blue Rock Manufacturing “plans to build a reactor next to a source of coal in West Virginia to reduce the coal to hard carbon that can be used to create batteries and supercapacitors.” The facility is designed to be part of the Dragon Energy Island project that DST Innovations is working to launch in Swansea, Wales. No timeframe was announced for the launch of the facility.

New Telescope Planned for Greenbank Observatory

Date: December 16, 2020

An assistant professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at WVU, has received a grant to build a new radio telescope at the Green Bank Observatory, according to the Williamson Daily News. The telescope will work in concert with two others in Canada to triangulate the positions of targeted objects. These telescopes will then connect to a much larger telescope in British Columbia to identify precise locations. The telescopes will be searching for Fast Radio Bursts, among the brightest objects in the universe, to gain greater understanding of their nature and origin.

PE Wins Reelection to House Seat

Date: November 18, 2020

Longtime NSPE/WVSPE member David McKinley, P.E., won reelection to the House of Representatives, defeating Democrat Natalie Cline. He has represented District 1 in northern West Virginia since 2011. Born in Wheeling in 1947, McKinley graduated from Purdue University with a degree in civil engineering and spent 12 years in the construction industry before establishing his own firm. Today, McKinley Architecture and Engineering has offices in Wheeling, Charleston, and Pittsburgh.

WVU’s Engineering Expertise Helped Attract Hyperloop Center

Date: November 18, 2020

“A unique blend of expertise in multiple areas of engineering at West Virginia University, and a shared purpose have culminated in an integrated solution to meet the unique challenges of the Virgin Hyperloop Certification Center, slated to be located in the West Virginia highlands,” reports The university’s selling points include expertise in the integration of high strength polymer composites into various types of infrastructure, electromagnetic systems, vacuum systems, mining, autonomous systems, and advanced manufacturing. The area terrain and soil conditions were also optimal for the six-mile test track.

Hyperloop Testbed Slated for West Virginia

Date: October 28, 2020

Virgin Hyperloop has selected the site of a former coal mine in Grant and Tucker counties as the location for a new $500 million certification center and six-mile test track for an alternative high-speed transportation system, according to Engineering News-Record. The facility will be the first US regulatory proving ground for the high-speed travel system. Federal regulators will use the facility to establish hyperloop regulatory and safety standards, building upon regulatory framework guidance issued in July by the US Department of Transportation. Virgin Hyperloop says its system can propel passenger or cargo pods at speeds of over 1,000 km/h.

Plans for Natural Gas Plant Abandoned

Date: October 28, 2020

A developer has dropped plans for a 920-MW natural gas-fired power plant in Brooke County due to changing market conditions and alleged interference from the coal industry, reports Power magazine. The West Virginia Economic Development Authority approved $5.6-million loan guarantee for the project on September 9. The article says, “a political push and pull involving an array of business, industry, union groups, and state leadership appears to have doomed the project.”

2020 WV Construction & Design Expo

Date: March 25–25, 2020
Expo 2020

The WV Construction and Design Expo is all about helping you find better, faster, smarter, cleaner and more efficient ways to get things done. Get a snapshot of the latest and greatest products and companies in the design and construction industries.

E-Week Activities-Archives

During E-Week, on February 21, 2019 at the Four Points Sheraton in Charleston, WV, WVSPE held a Scholarship and Celebration Dinner. WVSPE member Ed Robinson, P.E., P.S., served as the keynote speaker. Several scholarships were awarded. Read the program for a list of all scholarship winners. 

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Pictured above: President, David Weaver, P.E. and a scholarship winner, Jared Neehouse

36th Annual MATHCOUNTS Competition

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The 36th Annual MATHCOUNTS competition was held at Braxton County Middle School on March 23rd. Representatives from 15 schools across West Virginia assembled to contend for the opportunity to represent West Virginia in the National Competition in Orlando, FL on May 11th -May 14th.
The middle school students gathered bright and early to put their math skills to the test. Those talented students took a math test that determined the top school teams and top individuals of West Virginia. The top four individual winners will represent West Virginia in the National Competition in Florida. Ryan Butler from Suncrest Middle School will coach the West Virginia National team.

Read the official Press Release for more information on the event and winners.

West Virginia Society at the 2018 Professional Engineers Conference

From July 18–22 in Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace, NSPE members enjoyed an exciting week full of exceptional education programs, speakers, and great networking.


West Virginia Society Members