CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – After heavy rains last week damaged hillsides and roadways, the West Virginia Division of Highways is expediting construction of a piling wall for permanently repair a slip on WV 34 near the Putnam County community of Liberty.
The slipping section of roadway, already on WVDOH’s radar for repair this construction season, was heavily damaged in last week’s rain. WVDOH is currently back-filling with gravel so the public can travel through the area while repairs are being completed.
“We are rearranging our drilling schedule based on the heavy rains that further damaged this stretch of roadway,” said WVDOH District 1 Maintenance Engineer Kathy Rushworth, P.E. “We’re trying to see how quickly we can get a drill in there to build a pile wall.”
The WVDOH owns four machines needed to drill the holes to sink the massive pilings into the ground to hold up a piling wall. They will be used to get WV 34 repaired as quickly as possible.
Purchase of the drills, pavers and other equipment is part of an initiative to expand the capabilities of WVDOH’s own workforce — not to replace the work of contractors but to complete more work, more quickly, in keeping with Governor Justice’s vision for West Virginia’s roads.
The slip on WV 34 was among dozens of projects scheduled for piling wall repairs this construction season in District 1, including construction of a piling wall on Leon-Baden Road in Mason County, Spruce Laurel Road in Boone County, and two scheduled for construction on Riverbend Road in Kanawha County. However, heavy rainfall on Friday, May 6, 2022 caused the hillside beneath the road to start giving way. Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in Cabell, Putnam, and Roane counties following the drenching rains.
A piling wall is constructed from a series of interlocking vertical concrete slabs. The slabs are held in place by steel pilings sunk deep into the ground to create a permanent retaining wall.
To properly fix a slip or slide, the WVDOH must evaluate each area for the most cost-effective solution which will function long term, providing the best value to taxpayers while keeping them safe on the roads.
No two mountains are the same, and no road curves, rises and falls exactly like any other road. Soil nails, piling walls, micro pilings, how tall, how wide, how deep, into what type of soil, for how many drivers per day, how many passenger vehicles, how many heavy trucks — site specific considerations are many. While the information is being evaluated and each individual project is being developed, vehicles — from passenger cars to ambulances — still need to get through, so cones and signs are placed to alert drivers that work has started on each project.