Road Patrol: DOH preparing to tackle annual pothole problems

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The Division of Highways facility on Route 19 in Harrison County is getting ready to start the yearly task of filling all the potholes that show up on roads throughout the state each winter passes.

For the time being, though, temporary fixes will have to do. Most asphalt plants aren’t running yet, but the need to address those potholes can’t wait for them.

“We use what’s called a temporary patch. It fills the hole for a short duration, but, you know, heavy traffic or plowing activities just pops it right out, so you’re constantly filling the same holes until the asphalt plants open up, and then we can get it maintained correctly,” said Earl Gaskins, District 4 Maintenance Assistant.

This winter has been one of the snowiest in the past few years, and while less snowy seasons have made for easier driving, they often make road slips more of a problem. This year, with the colder and snowier months, the act of keeping the roads safe also plays a part in damaging area roads.

“The freeze and thaw, if you don’t have a lot of snow cover and causes soft ground and you can get a lot of movement. When you get snow cover, then you deal with the potholes because we’re applying chemicals and we’re plowing the road, so either way, the winter is very detrimental to our road system,” said Gaskins.

For Spring 2021, Gaskins said the state is aiming to see the work of addressing potholes done wherever possible, and quickly so that West Virginia residents have one less thing to worry about as they hit the roads this year.

“This year, Mr. Wriston and the governor’s asked us to try to have every pothole filled by Memorial Day, and we’re on track to have that done in Harrison County, and Doddridge County in District 4, and District 4 itself is working diligently to achieve that goal,” said Gaskins.

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