CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It just may be the worst pothole year in decades. State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said no section of road has been spared this winter.
“We’re about two and a half times underfunded with the money we should be putting into our resurfacing programs. The result, particularly when you have a hard, cold, harsh winter, is the amount of potholes you see statewide in the road system,” explained Mattox.
Some potholes are relatively small, a foot in diameter, a couple inches deep but there are others that can literally swallow a tire. Mattox said then there’s stretches of road, like 100-yards along Route 60 near St. Albans, that need extra work.
“We’re going to have to go in and do what’s called skip patching. Basically it’s just one big patch that’s put on the roadway because the road has deteriorated.”
Mattox said right now the DOH is fixing the holes in high-traffic areas.
“We wish we could go out and take care of all of them in a short time period but we can’t,” the secretary said. “We have to prioritize and we have to get the higher traveled roadways first and work our way down.”
The DOH is forced to do some temporary repairs because asphalt plants have yet to open.
“We use a material called cold mix. That is what they’re applying to the potholes right now. It’s basically a band-aid approach,” said Mattox.
The DOH is considering changing the level of asphalt it uses during their summer paving projects.
“I read a study recently where other states are getting up to 13-years of life by going to a thinner overlay but it’s about 40 percent less cost,” explained Mattox
He said the DOH will be looking at several different options to recover from the pitfalls of this winter.