Turnpike travel plazas, gas stations open news wvgazettemail.com electricity video bill nye

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — All three travel plazas along the West Virginia Turnpike are open, running on backup generators and have gas to sell, Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr said Monday afternoon.Barr said all toll booths and facilities along the 88-mile corridor through southern West Virginia have been operating continuously since Friday’s storm knocked out power to the region."We’ve got everything working with backup power," Barr said.He said as soon as the storm moved through, Parkways Authority crews were able to quickly get facilities switched to generator power."The advantage we had is that we already have the backup generators in place at all of those facilities and they were already fueled up and ready to go," Barr said. "All we had to do was keep the generators filled up with diesel fuel."In addition to toll booths, the authority operates three travel plazas along the Turnpike: one at Bluestone near at mile post 17, the Beckley travel plaza at exit 45, and then a Morton travel plaza at mile post 72.While the plazas had power to operate restaurants and gas stations, Barr said it was a struggle over the weekend to keep fuel in the gas station tanks."It was a pretty desperate situation on Saturday," he said. "The biggest issues have been keeping fuel supplied to travel plazas."Barr said he began working with the authority’s fuel supplier, Virginia-based Petroleum Marketers Inc., to keep supply lines open."They worked diligently throughout the day (on Saturday) to continue keeping tankers coming our way with fuel," he said.But he said there were times in between shipments when their gas stations were out of fuel due to the high demand.Barr said the travel plazas were "jam packed" during the weekend."Because we were one of the few places that had fuel, we had traffic backed up onto the Turnpike," he said."A lot of local people came out on the turnpike too just to get fuel because they heard those stations were open."Barr said four authority employees were sent to the Beckley plaza just to direct traffic. State police units were also at each travel plaza to keep order and decorum."It was pretty hectic, as you can imagine," Barr said. "It was a kind of an oasis for people to migrate to."Barr said the town of Princeton, located at the south end of the Turnpike at mile-marker 9, never lost power during the storm.As a result, people flocked to the city to refill on gas."We had traffic backed 5 miles off the exit," Barr said. "All the way to mile post 14, there was a line of traffic where people had pulled off to the shoulder to wait to get off at the exit and they just inched along there waiting to get fuel."Barr said he also got a report of people sitting in lawn chairs next to cars along Harper Road in Beckley waiting on power to be restored at a local gas station."There was actually people that decided since they can’t go on — because their tanks are on empty and they’re stranded — they’ll just stay there and wait it out," he said.Barr said main power has yet to be restored at any toll booths or travel plazas along the Turnpike. But he said he feels confident the authority will be able to keep all facilities open and running on backup generators until power is restored."We’ve got plenty of diesel fuel right now (for generators), and we’ve put in an order to top off our tanks," he said."We don’t know how long it will continue — we’ve been told it may be Friday," Barr said. "But we’re going to continue to do the best we can to keep all our generators running and our facilities open." Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.hunt@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5148.