By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Extreme cold followed by spring-like warmth has left potholes throughout West Virginia and Virginia, but crews are working to make temporary fixes until more permanent repairs are possible.
“It seems like it’s taken quite a toll this year,” Tom Camden, supervisor of West Virginia Department of Highways District 10, said about recent winter weather. “We had 10 degrees one day and 50 degrees the next.”
The repeating freezing and thawing cycle, plus the impact of salt and other chemicals, opens new potholes. Asphalt plants will not open until April, but road crews are working temporary repairs. A “cold mix” is used to fill potholes until longer lasting work can be done.
“We have a recycling machine that allows us to actually use regular asphalt and heat it up,” Camden said. “Over the past week or two we’ve been working on a list of priorities and trying to get ahead of that this year.”
Southern West Virginia residents who want to report a pothole problem can call 304-425-2155. They will be directed to the state DOH facility in their county, Camden said.
In neighboring Southwest Virginia, temporary cold patch repairs are underway, too.
“We do it every year. We do it all year round,” Virginia Department of Highways spokesperson Tamara Rollison said. “The potholes have become more prevalent, and the winter is not over.”
The up and down temperatures have caused many of the new holes, she said.
“If we had just cold all the time, we wouldn’t have an issue with potholes,” Rollison stated. “First you have temperatures in the teens, then spring-like 60s and 70s. It’s an extreme freeze and thaw cycle.”
Virginia residents can use VDOT’s Web-based form to report potholes and other road problems, at www.virginiadot.org/travel/citizen.asp. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT’s website, www.virginiadot.org, according to VDOT officials.
Another way to contact the department is to call 800-367-7623 (800-FOR-ROAD) 24 hours a day to reach VDOT’s Customer Service Center to report road hazards or ask questions.