WVDOH uses new drill to quickly open section of US 19 in Spanishburg

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SPANISHBURG, WV (WVNS) — A section of US 19 spanning 175 feet reopened ahead of schedule as a result of new drills used by the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH).

Heavy rainfall in southern West Virginia led to high water on the Bluestone River. That caused the road to collapse on March 3, 2021.

“We were right along the riverbank,” said Joe Pack, District 10 Engineer. “Material was falling out from under the roadway as we were working.”

Due to the possibility of further collapse, Pack decided to close the section of the road while repairs were made. The morning after the collapse, the WVDOH sent one of two new drills used to build pile walls in order to hold up falling embankments.

DOH crews built a piling wall along that section of the road and filled in the washed-out bank to stabilize the roadbed and rebuild the road above.

In the past, the WVDOH relied on renting drills or using outside contractors to do the job. The purchase of two new drills solely for WVDOH use will help carry out their projects at a more efficient pace.

“We really appreciate Governor Justice and his support of our people on the ground having what they need to get the job done,” said Pack.

Once the road reopened two days in advance on Wednesday, March 17, the WVDOH realized they had saved both time and money with the ability to have the work done in-house.

“Our guys have a vested interest in this work,” Pack said. “They live here and they have family here who drive the roads, so they understand the urgency.”

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