CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As many West Virginians were caught in the path of Winter Storm Gail last week, the West Virginia Division of Highways snowplow drivers were working around an extra set of difficulties. With community spread of COVID-19 across the state, transportation workers are among the quarantined. At an already tough time of year, their co-workers are rising to the occasion to fill in. Workers, who in many cases are taking on 12-hour shifts, appreciate the public for giving them space as they clear the icy roadways.
“In District 4, that’s Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, and Taylor counties, we began shuffling personnel around to help with the worse areas,” said Mike Cronin, P.E., District 4 Engineer. “All equipment was readied before the storm and we had plans in place. We concentrate on the primary roads first and then to go the secondary, as always. With this storm, we reminded the public to be cautious, as it was a mix of snow and then ice, making a very hazardous situation.”
In District 9, which includes Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, and Summers counties, Maintenance Engineer, Jim Moore, P.E., made similar plans.
“We staged personnel and equipment on the roadway before the storm. Salt, or salt/cinder mix, was applied directly in advance of the storm as soon as the road became wet for the material to stick. The drivers followed their assigned routes, focusing to clear high-speed, high-traffic corridors first, and then moved to lower traffic routes. They continued to work in two 12-hour shifts around the clock until all the roads were cleared and the shoulders pushed back.” …