West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) is committed to patching every pothole in the state by Memorial Day as part of an aggressive spring repair blitz.
WVDOH maintenance crews in nearly two dozen counties across more than half of the WVDOH districts have already taken advantage of a few asphalt plants opening early to get a jump start on patching potholes.
“We’re seeing the benefit of doing that (patching) at this time of the year,” said West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E. during Gov. Jim Justice’s administration update on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.
“We attack them now and we can reduce claims, we can get this part of the work done before that hot August weather comes and we’re not out there sweating to patch these potholes.”
WVDOH maintenance crews can’t make permanent hot asphalt repairs during the winter, when temperatures are often under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures have to be 40 degrees or above for hot asphalt to stick properly.
Cold weather means that most asphalt plants don’t open until early April. But a few plants around the state opened earlier based on a mild end to winter.
Pothole milling and filling is just one part of a multifaceted plan to keep West Virginia’s roads in the best condition possible. WVDOH has a dedicated core maintenance plan that includes keeping ditches clear to stop water from pooling beside roadways, cutting trees and branches that overhang roads to allow sunlight to dry wet roads, and proper pothole filling – milling out a nice square hole, removing all dirt and debris, putting down a sticky layer of tack to make asphalt stick better, and rolling out new, hot asphalt.
A proper patch on a pothole will last for years, meaning there will be fewer potholes to patch next year and the years thereafter.
“We’re going to have a great year paving,” said Wriston. “We’re going to do a lot of bridge work. We’re going to have another banner year in West Virginia with infrastructure.”