The Times West Virginian

Local News

April 13, 2014

Fixing a hole where the snow got in

DOH starts repairing Marion County roads

FAIRMONT — The damage done by a harsh winter is beginning to be repaired.

The West Virginia Division of Highways began using an allotment of additional money to help pay for additional pothole repairs.

According to DOH engineer Greg Phillips, Marion County has been budgeted an additional $256,000 to spend on potholes. The DOH has begun paving roads across the state, and Phillips said roads are prioritized based on traffic.

In Marion County, workers were working on Colfax Road last week. Colfax Road does not appear to be a major road, but it was still prioritized this year for another reason.

“(Colfax) Road was supposed to (be worked on) last year, so we’re getting it done now,” DOH worker Jeff Pethtel said. “We have a crew coming in that will do a seal job on it.”

According to Pethtel, the process of fixing a pothole includes cutting out a square patch around the pothole, filling it with hot mix, then compacting the mix. Deeper potholes require additional hot mix.

“That is the process we use when a road does not have an exuberant amount of potholes,” Pethtel said.

A DOH worker said the hot mix used to patch the potholes is 300 degrees when they shovel it onto the road.

The winter weather played havoc on the roads.

According to Phillips, Marion County used 4,000 tons of salt and 10,000 tons of abrasives to attempt to keep the roads drivable last winter. These materials were used on 770 miles of roadway in Marion County.

Brent Walker is the director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Walker said the counties, districts and state annually plan a snow removal- and ice control-budget to treat winter roads.

“Marion (County) planned to spend $818,000, but spent $1,051,000 on snow removal and ice control,” Walker said.

Walker said interstates are not always included in plowing made by counties because they have dedicated maintenance crews.

Despite the harsh winter, the Department of Transportation did not have to hire additional employees.

“We remained under quota, but we have seasonal employees who have their (CDL license),” Walker said. “But that is every winter.”

Fairmont Water Department employee Chip West keeps snow totals for the City of Fairmont. Last year, the city received just over 20 inches of snow.

According to West, this winter brought down more than 51 inches of snow.

West Virginia has a lot of roads to maintain, Walker said.

“(West Virginia) has about 38,000 miles of roads we are responsible for maintaining,” Walker said. “We have the fourth largest road system in the country.”

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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