DOH boss assures they are already working on pothole repair

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A sure sign of spring is daffodils punching up through the snow–and potholes widening on a West Virginia highway.

Jimmy Wriston

Both have now started to appear on the Mountain State’s landscape. Unlike the daffodils, the potholes aren’t nearly as welcome a site for West Virginians.

Motorists are seeing the chunks of pavement ripped out by the constant freeze/thaw cycle along with salt treatments and plowing by DOH trucks through the winter weather. Most unfortunate is the hot asphalt plants, the key element to making lasting repairs, are still several weeks away from opening up. Until then, West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Jimmy Wriston said the best they can do is literally just fill in the holes.

The recent weather has caused multiple potholes and road issues across the state. Jimmy Wriston, West Virginia Transportation Secretary, talks about where we are now regarding the roads to @HoppyKercheval #FTDR. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/j1hbXatk7c

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) February 14, 2022

“We can fill those holes up and maybe prevent people from having a wheel buster or immediate damage. But the truth is that material just doesn’t last,” Wriston said on MetroNews Talkline.

He hinted however, even with the cold patch material there are some techniques which do help and make the temporary patches a little more durable. He suggested crews will grade out a pothole and heat up the hole as the cold material is applied. Wriston isn’t a fan of “toss and go”. He said this technique takes more time, but it preserves the patch hopefully long enough for the hot asphalt operations to get cranked up for a permanent fix.

“I think a couple are going to try to open up around the first of March. I think there are a couple more that will try to open after we get into the month of March, but typically they don’t open until April 1st,” he explained.

Wriston said his goal, and that of the Justice Administration, was to pick up the pace on pothole repairs and improve regular road maintenance from where it had been historically in West Virginia. He said this year will mark the completion of a three-year cycle, which is the typical full cycle for highways maintenance, and it’s a benchmark to look at where things stand.

“Last year, we used 85,000 tons of asphalt to repair those potholes out there. I think we’re going to see a much lower number this year. I think that will be a good sign and a good metric to see how we’re doing,” he said.