DOH maintenance crews in a push to completed patching and ditching work

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – We’ve all seen patches on the road as we go past, and while a quick fix may make it easier for vehicles to hit the road, DOH officials in Harrison County said taking the time to do a more extensive and thorough patch works better in the long run.

“It’s time-consuming but it gives you a better rideability afterwards. That entails us going out with a milling machine and milling, not just the hole itself, but the compromised area round that, and then we’re going to be filling it with quality material on top of that. It gives you a nice smooth ride and it adds longevity to the road system,” said District 4 Maintenance Assistant Earl Gaskins.

And if there’s one thing that can ruin a road faster than anything else, Gaskins said, it’s water. That’s why many of the DOH maintenance crews spend so much time ditching roadsides when they can: it’s a way to ensure the road itself lasts as long as possible.

“Number one, it’s a safety concern, having water on the roadway, so you have to get the water off the road, and secondly you don’t want water sitting there because it actually causes a negative effect on the road system. It deteriorates the road quicker and make the road more susceptible to freeze and thaw in the wintertime,” Gaskins said.

Gaskins explained that crews try to ditch roads once every three years, and this year, there’s a renewed push to keep up, especially with the loss of work time due to the first quarantine efforts from the pandemic.

“Governor Justice, Secretary White, and Deputy Secretary Wriston have put an emphasis on that, so we are definitely going to see our forces out there ditching more than what you have in the past, and we’re making a very valiant effort trying to get caught up with that ditching,” said Gaskins.

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