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West Virginia: a pothole paradise

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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