Road Patrol: Milder winter doesn’t mean easier months for Division of Highways

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – In Harrison County this week, the Division of Highways is well-stocked and ready to handle whatever snowy weather may come our way this winter, but there hasn’t been much, and that doesn’t necessarily make the DOH’s life easier.

“Obviously the snow’s easy to handle. Push it off the road and salt it. But it’s the water, the freezing, and thawing and that’s what causes the problems for us,” said Earl Gaskins with the Division of Highways.

The wet, but not frozen, weather we’ve been getting also makes it harder for the DOH to keep up with the things they normally work on. Clear roads mean they can keep up on regular maintenance, but even those tasks are made a bit harder.

“It’s the other issues such as the drainage, they continue to be a problem. And then the ground’s saturated so it’s hard to go out there and ditch without making an absolute mess,” Gaskins said.

There is one big plus for both the Division and area residents, though: the less time and money they have to spend dealing with snowy, frozen roads, the more they can devote to the projects needed annually to keep the road system in good condition.

“Everything continues to roll, and one of the biggest myths are ‘It’s a mild winter, so you guys want more money.’ Well, no, if it’s a mild winter, then we spend just as much money out there doing the regular stuff we do year-round,” said Gaskins.

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