CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) officials met with officials from Kanawha, Putnam, Mason, Boone and Clay counties to hear concerns, go over projects, and explain how WVDOH operates at an open house in Charleston on Monday.
Similar meetings are planned around the state. Attendees at Monday’s open house included Sen. Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha; Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Mason; Delegate Kathy Hess Crouse, R-Putnam; Delegate Walter Hall, R-Kanawha; Delegate Andy Shamblin, R-Kanawha; Mason County commissioners Sam Nibert, Tracy Doolittle, and Rick Handley; and Mason Mayor Kristopher Clark.
All had questions about projects in their areas or roads they felt needed attention from the WVDOH. In the old days, the WVDOH operated on the principle that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” said WVDOH District 1 Manager Arlie Matney. Today, all WVDOH decisions are data-driven, he said. “The roads that are the farthest away in Mason County are as important as the roads in Kanawha County,” Matney said.
Over the past three years, Matney said, the WVDOH has returned to its roots as a maintenance organization, focusing on work that maintains and preserves roads.
Each county now concentrates on repairing potholes, paving, and maintaining gravel roads; keeping ditches clear; cutting branches away from roadways and mowing to keep brush and top cover away from road surfaces. These activities are intended to keep water off roads to increase their lifespan.
Matney said the emphasis on maintenance is paying off. Two years ago, District 1 laid down 28,000 tons of asphalt repairing potholes. This year the figure is going to be about 8,500 tons. “In two years, by doing it right, we have saved 20,000 tons of asphalt,” Matney said. Matney said District 1 has “torn down the fences” that separate the five counties in the district and will send crews from one county to another county to help. “We’ll all succeed together or we’ll all fail together,” he said.