CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Road crews from West Virginia Division of Highways District 1 have finished a massive piling-supported retaining wall in Putnam County.
The 400-foot structure along Lime Kiln Road near Red House is the first piling wall project done by District 1 work crews on their own. WVDOH often contracts out retaining wall projects, but Transportation Secretary Byrd White and Deputy Secretary Jimmy Wriston have been pushing for highways crews to do more work in-house to get more mileage from each taxpayer dollar and bring to life Governor Justice’s vision for West Virginia roads.
State Highways Administrator Arlie Matney said highways crews in a few other Districts have built piling walls on their own, but District 1 which includes Boone, Clay, Kanawha, Mason, and Putnam counties, had not.
Matney transferred from District 10 to District 1 to share expertise and help spearhead special projects. He said a massive slip along Lime Kiln Road seemed like the perfect opportunity to allow District 1 road crews to see what they could do.
Lime Kiln Road, which snakes its way off WV 34 as 34 climbs Red House Hill in Putnam County, has been a trouble spot for some time.
“It’s a one-lane road with a major slip,” Matney said. “It was really narrow in spots, right around eight feet wide.”
When federal funding from the CARES Act became available, highways officials decided to make Lime Kiln Road a state Medical Access Roads Program (MARP) project. MARP was to address the concerns of local first responders on roads that might hinder access to emergency vehicles.
Matney also thought the slip would be perfect for District 1 to undertake as a first project.
“These guys took to it like ducks to water,” he said.
Over a span of a little over a month, District 1 crews sank dozens of 40-foot girders into the ground, ending up with a 400-foot retaining wall. In comparison, the average piling retaining wall is about 100 feet long, Matney said.
“When you look at it at first, the length of it is overwhelming,” he said. “These guys did an excellent job. I’m really impressed by what they were able to do.”
Matney said District 1 crews were able to widen Lime Kiln Road by six to eight feet.
“Basically, we turned a one-lane road into a two-lane road,” he said. “We saved something like $200,000 just from our people doing the work.”