Severe thunderstorms that swept through much of West Virginia on Monday, June 13, 2022, and Tuesday, June 14, 2022, sent West Virginia Division of Highways cleanup crews throughout the Mountain State into a frenzy of activity cutting trees out of roadways to open closed roads.
But once the trees are out of the roadway and traffic can flow again, work doesn’t just stop.
“It’s a two-step process,” said Kathy Rushworth, P.E., WVDOH District 1 Maintenance Engineer.
When a storm hits, “We have emergency callouts through the night,” Rushworth said. “We do everything we can to get that road open for traffic.”
But the WVDOH can’t just leave the cut trees lying in the ditch or along the side of the road.
Clogged ditchlines lead to flooding, and piles of debris on the side of the road are a safety hazard.
After clearing roads following a storm, cleanup crews go back to remove the cut trees and debris, clear out the ditches and haul off the mess.
WVDOH cleanup crews recently returned to a storm-damaged section of road near the Kanawha County community of Mammoth to remove trees and brush that had been cleared following recent storms. Armed with chainsaws, end loaders and dump trucks, they cut up large trees into small, manageable chunks and loaded them onto dump trucks to be hauled away.
Once the trees were cleared, the ditches were cleared, debris removed from the side of the road, and all the detritus trucked offsite.
With work continuing in all 55 counties across the state, the West Virginia Division of Highways and the West Virginia Department of Transportation remind the public of the importance of keeping everyone safe in work zones by keeping “Heads up; phones down!”
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