CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Like many other businesses and services, the Division of Highways made adjustments on its staffing to try and protect its crews from the coronavirus. But after weeks of quarantining for safety crews are finally back on the road. But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped taking precautions.
“We’re still following the safety protocols as far as the distancing requirements, wearing facial protection such as masks and gloves. We’re disinfecting our equipment at the end of the day every shift and we’re continuing to try to follow protocols and be safe during daily operations,” said Earl Gaskins with the Division of Highways.
The timing of the pandemic also made a difference in the state road’s ability to tackle some of its larger projects. Construction season doesn’t usually begin until mid-April, so there’s been very little time lost. Instead, crews are playing catchup for some of their regular duties.
“Ditching, patching, mowing and stabilization are things that we have scheduled, and we’re trying to stay on that schedule. That’s what the public is seeing. That’s what we’ve put out there,” said Gaskins.
The earlier quarantining efforts may have also been a benefit for the DOH in the longer term. Workers not on the job instead spent time training online for a variety of work, and that could pay off as time goes on.
“I’m seeing a higher quality of work from our guys. Obviously, they had an opportunity to sit back and study our work performance standards and our procedures and how we’re supposed to do things, and I think it’s going to benefit the Department of Highways for the years to come,” Gaskins said.