CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Transportation says the first part of a $1.6 billion highway work plan will start as soon as weather conditions allow.

The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register quotes state Highways Commissioner and Transportation Secretary Tom Smith in a Monday report as also saying that hiring for the “West Virginia Roads to Prosperity” plan will start in February. He says a Feb. 16 job fair will hire people to work with contractors.

Smith says the Transportation department will also hire up to 500 people for positions including engineers, accountants, environmentalists and highway workers.

He says some bridge work is expected in February and highway work in March, with all work increased in May. The plan includes 60 miles (100 kilometers) of interstate reconstruction in the coming year.