INSTITUTE, W.Va. – The great pothole patch of 2014 is underway.

Bill Swindler was part of a DOH crew working on Route 25 in Kanawha County Monday. They started at the intersection with Patrick Street in Charleston last week. This week they picked up in Institute near the Bayer Industrial Park.

“Some of them are pretty good size,” Swindler described the potholes. “They’re a couple inches deep and probably 18-20 inches in diameter.”

Those are the small ones. Crews said they’ve seen them much deeper and wider. At this point in the winter they’re popping up, or rather crumbling down, at a rapid rate.

“It just depends on the road location. Sometimes we go a pretty good ways, sometimes [we stop] every 20 feet [to fill the potholes],” according to Swindler.

It’s still too early to start paving roads but those potholes have to be handled. Swindler said they’re using a product to fill the ever-widening gaps, in the short term.

“It’s just a temporary cold mix that we do because the blacktop mill isn’t open until spring,” he explained.

That cold patch is an asphalt mix that is soft and sticky but hardens quickly once it’s tapped into a pothole.

Meanwhile, the DOH is working with the owners of those hot asphalt plants to get them to open a couple weeks early. But once again it all depends on if the weather cooperates.

Every part of the state is dealing with same pothole problems. The DOH decided earlier this month to reprioritize their spring projects and to move $12 million to repair the roads.

That can’t come quick enough for drivers tired of dodging deep holes.

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  • Mason County Contrarian

    "Oh, you rattle and you shake
    Speed up and then hit your brakes.
    I'm jumpin' like a toad
    on this West Virginia road.
    Bumpity bump, bumpity bump."

    Arch or Jay (I think) used this little ditty in a campaign spot years and years ago.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Jonus Grumby

    I saw a crew out this afternoon converting potholes into speed-bumps.

  • Aaron

    Every interstate has miles of road with the seams tearing apart for it to be simply a bad winter, particularly given the change in the asphalt mix to allow for regrind.

    • wow

      when you try to cut costs a lot of the time quality goes down with it. You are right, your pavement is only as good as the material in it and inspectors and contractors can't make it a better mix just by working harder, the material needs to be better.

      • Aaron

        The problem is the states largest supplier of asphalt created this formula and convinced the state that it would suffice.

        They did so because they were losing the life cycle cost analysis to concrete as asphalt prices are rising dramatically.

        Regained was one measure to control cost. They should be forced to stand behind it.

        • Aaron

          Regrind, not regained. It is what it sounds like. Old asphalt taken up from existing road surfaces, reground and used as a component of hot asphalt mix.

  • wow

    very bad winter = very bad spring roads. Sounds like we have some people on here that need to run for office or at least be paving contractors.

  • cutty77

    This is The Worst Potholes I have ever seen in WV. Its Time for Paul Maddox to step down,he's just like Gus Douglas. Our Roads have got bad in The last 4 years, with no snow.

  • Shadow

    If adversity is the Mother of Invention, why doesn't some inventive WVian should come up with a trailer that would provide hot patches anytime of the year? I am sure there is a big market for a product like that throughout the US.

  • jeremy

    I'm just trying to figure out how long it took to get these pictures. I know for a fact here in the eastern panhandle the shovels only job is to hold up the DOH workers

    • wow

      That's a very old joke.

  • John

    Throwing a shovel of patching material in a pot hole is a waste of time unless its tamped in really tight, as it will whip right back out. A few licks with one of those hand tampers will not compact it in tight enough to stay. Watch in a few days and you will see what I mean, with nothing more than a pile of loose gravel on the pavement. If you're going to take the time to patch, at least take time to do it right. Move that traffic over into another lane if needed. I've saw DOH workers shovel patching into a pothole and them back over it with the truck wheels. This is just a waste of time as it will not compact tight enough to stay.

  • Aaron

    As I drive up 77 dodging potholes and the center line that seems to be splitting apart at the center line, I'm curious as to why the contractor is not required to stand behind their product.

    The paving on many of these roads full of potholes is less than five years old. I thought paving was supposed to last at least seven years.

    Why are we paying asphalt company's for such an inferior product?

    • jeremy

      Sounds like their seam did not seal and allowed water to penetrate between the lanes and freeze. Shoty workmanship and inspection.

      • Aaron

        You don't think the addition to regrind to the mix, thus reducing it's effectiveness has anything to do with the seal weakening?

    • Larry

      I noticed that too, the center line is all potholes, there's no doubt this is the worst shape the roads have ever been in.

  • Hillbilly

    DOH - Thank You! Every pothole fixed is greatly appreciated!

  • kel

    im pretty sure i saw george burns and satan playing parcheesi at the bottom of the crater on don nehlen drive at the entrance of ruby memorial/niosh.

  • Aaron

    Did our legislature even discuss infrastructure spending? Wasn't one of the priorities of this session supposed to be infrastructure funding based on the results of the blue ribbon commission?

  • Concerned

    I have witnessed several times DOH workers running out between cars on I-79 and throwing a shovel of cold patch into a pothole. Vehicles then hit the pile of stone and tar at 70+ MPH. There are no warning signs posted. I want the pot holes patched as much as anyone but we're going to see a road worker killed, let alone the chipped paint and broken windshields from flying stone chips. Can't we at least take traffic to one lane to protect the workers and then use a plate compactor to tamp the patch?

  • Mason County Contrarian

    West Virginia Legi$lature infrastructure enhancement program: cold patch and a shovel.

    I guess we can all assume the announcement last fall by Putnam County officials regarding the completion of Route 35 was just a wee bit premature.

    • ViennaGuy

      - West Virginia Legi$lature infrastructure enhancement program: cold patch and a shovel. -

      After a legislative session where little of consequence was accomplished, maybe we should put the members of the Legislature out there in orange vests filling the holes ... do that, and we might be surprised how fast an infrastructure bill gets passed!

  • Alum

    Send them to Berkeley County, please!

    (And 705 in Morgantown needs much help too.)

    • Charleston

      While in Morgantown they could also fix a few on 857 near the Purple Cow. Good Lord!