The derecho which struck the region a few weeks ago presented a variety of challenges to the Division of Highways.
“The men and women had to work all night on Saturday night (the day after the storm hit) and Sunday night ” said David Cox, supervisor of the Wyoming County DOH. “We had to have people on al 24 hours during the state of emergency.”
One of the biggest jobs was removing trees from the highways.
“We cleared about 300 trees off roads” Cox commented. “We had trees on Micajah Ridge, Herndon Heights, Sand Gap, Ford Branch, Huff Creek. “We had quite a few trees down on Route 10 going from Pineville to Oceana,” he added. “We had six trees knotted up on Jesse Mountain and had the whole road blocked.”
The 911 Center, fire departments, Sheriff’s Department and municipal police departments provide information about the downed trees, he indicated.
“They call us and everybody works together,” Cox remarked. “We can get to trees and rock slides a lot faster that way. They give us the exact location and we find out if we need a plow or an end loader or some other equipment.
“It’s a joint effort by everybody,” he stated.
Storm clean up is expected to cost $30,000 to 40,000 district wide.
“We’re trying to recoup some of that money,” Cox explained. “We had to cut trees and pay overtime on man power.
The DOH will seek FEMA reimbursement for some expenditures, he reported.
One issue not always understood by the public, he said, is why trees are left leaning on lines.
“It’s a safety issue,” said Cox. “Our men and women could be killed or it could spring a tree on you.”
It is Appalachian Power’s responsibility to handle such situations, Cox reported.
Cox says the department’s summer activities will include skip paving. “We’ll skip pave some secondary routes like Ellk Lick at 7/3 off Route 971, part of Ford Branch and part of 10/3 at the end of Huff Creek. “We can’t pave dirt roads any more, but next year some dirt roads will get a surface treatment of tar and gravel.”
He says the DOH follows a core plan. “We pull the ditches on the primary roads and some secondary roads one year,” Cox stated. “One year we do more secondary road,s and the the rest on the third (year). “Every road we have listed gets a little attention,” he added. “The people of Wyoming County have been very patient.”
Main roads are mowed at least three times yearly. “We have a machine to mow secondary roads also,” Cox said.
“I think our men and women do a good job,” he commented. “We all have to perform and do our job.”