Officials discuss unified incident command system in Ohio Valley

Local News

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – A major meeting bringing first responders, highway officials and many other entities together took place at the Moundsville Division of Highways headquarters Friday.

The meeting comes almost a week after the fatal accident on I-470 that had some motorists sitting in traffic for three and four hours.

Many officials say an unified incident command system is critical.

The other day, we also had the medical examiner involved. So, we have very different disciplines.

Lou Vargo, Ohio County EMA Director

And with several ongoing construction projects in the Ohio Valley, the need of an unified incident command system increases.

It took me 25 minutes to get from Bridgeport down to 470. And that’s even with lights and sirens. It didn’t matter.

Dave Ivan, Belmont county EMA Director

Some officials say drivers aren’t alerted about the ever-changing road closures.

But there’s not signage. I’m constantly calling in every day. We need more signage.

Sheriff Tom Howard of Ohio County

Traffic accidents are currently higher than usual but Wheeling Police officials do not blame construction.

Instead, they look to driver’s inattention.

We want them to hang up their phone. We want them to not tailgate. Slow down. Back off. Hang up. Those are the types of things that we’re looking for.

Sgt. Josh Sanders, Wheeling Police Department

Officials say construction is the new norm and it will be this way for the next three years.

There are contingency plans for the winter months, in terms of treating the roads for snow and ice in the midst of construction.

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