DOH crews continue work on roads in winter storm recovery

WAYNE, W.Va. — Crews with the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) are continuing to work on roads all across the state that were damaged in last week’s ice storms.

The DOH said Tuesday more than 280 roads were left impassable in the aftermath of the ice storms. The majority in the counties of Cabell, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam, and Wayne from Feb. 10 through Feb. 15. Gov. Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency on Feb. 16.

Both WVDOH District 1 Engineer Travis Knighton and District 2 Manager Scott Eplin said the damage was ‘as bad or worse than the 2012 Derecho,’ according to a news release from the DOH.

During Tuesday’s state Senate Transportation Committee, an update for road maintenance projects was given by Jimmy Wriston, State Deputy Highways Commissioner. Wriston updated the senators on ice storm recovery.

Jimmy Wriston

The commissioner said the department planned its Snow Removal and Ice Control (SRIC) program carefully but the storms are ‘chewing up’ a surplus that was built up.

“If I’m another two months clearly the roadway from this ice storm then I’m going to be into my core maintenance season. So we defiantly need to be thinking ahead a bit so I don’t spend all summer cleaning up after this storm. Then my core maintenance season is behind,” Wriston said.

Sen. Bob Plymale (D-Wayne, 05) expressed his concern in his home county, even on the main roads, during the meeting by saying, “We are having problems on Goodwill Road. The lines are still down. It’s impassable.”

Bob Plymale

The DOH said Wayne County remained the hardest-hit county in District 2, where ice storms initially closed 68 roads. Ice storms closed 48 roads in Cabell County and 27 roads in Lincoln County. Another 45 roads were initially closed in Jackson County.

In District 1, Putnam and Mason counties were hit hard by the ice storms, which closed 58 roads in Putnam County and 39 roads in Mason County.

DOH tree-cutting crews from District 4, District 7, District 8, District 9, and District 10 mobilized almost immediately in the process. Under emergency provisions, five contractors were also hired to help clear debris in storm-ravaged Districts 1 and 2.

DOH had 238 of 283 roads reopened by the end of the weekend.

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