BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — At one point Governor Jim Justice started repeating the phrase ‘any frog who is not proud of his pond, is not much of a frog.’ On Thursday, May 20, Governor Justice went out to Tamarack to announce a new project he hopes will show West Virginians how proud of the Mountain State they should be.
Each one of the toll booths on the West Virginia Turnpike now serve as permanent advertising for the state, wrapped in displays depicting the beauty and versatility of West Virginia.
“Nobody else in the country is doing this. We are the first toll road in the country to do this. So we are really excited to be cutting edge in the promotion of the state we are in,” said Jeff Miller, the Executive Director of West Virginia Parkways Authority.
Governor Justice, the West Virginia Parkways Authority, the Department of Tourism and its commissioner Chelsea Ruby, partnered on the project with an idea to catch the eyes of those driving through.
“This is the stuff that turns the dial and makes people come,” said Governor Justice.
“We have a great asset in the West Virginia Turnpike and the tourists and the travelers that are on here as they come through, and I think we will be able to showcase the beauty we have here,” said Miller.
Those working on the project said it is not enough to just show how beautiful the state is, but also the wild and wonderful opportunities to be found here.
“People think ‘oh West Virginia is a great place, it has got an unbelievable beauty but there ain’t anything to do there’ so you gotta show them what there are things to do here and that’s what we are doing,” said Governor Justice.
North and southbound toll booths at Ghent, Pax, and Chelyan will receive the make over. Miller said it takes about an hour and a half per booth, but he knows his crew will work through the night to get everything in place before the heightened traffic Memorial Day weekend brings.
“Actually, it was all done internally. Tourism did the design, and our West Virginia Turnpike sign shop did the prints and will do the installation, so we didn’t have to go out of house to have any of it done,” said Miller.
There are six different designs, each depicting a different activity popular in the state. From ATVs to white water rafting, while one highlights a landmark right in our backyard.
“Well I tell you since we are at Tamarack, I gotta say this is the favorite one because the Tamarack is an amazing facility. It’s like a gateway,” said Governor Justice.