State DOH workers clean pipes, ditches in Preston County

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KINGWOOD — State Division of Highways workers from around the state are in Preston County, working to clean ditches and pipes.

Darby Clayton of DOH District 4, which includes Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties, said it’s part of the governor’s roads initiative.

“Right now we’ve got the Preston County initiative started here. It’s part of Gov. Justice’s program to work on the secondary roads. So we started that here under his leadership and innovation. We’re going to continue to work on that until we get most of the roads,” Clayton said Wednesday. “We know we’re not going to get all the roads back up to snuff, but we’re going to work on as many of them as we can.”

Bus routes will be the first priority for ditching, Clayton said.

He couldn’t say exactly how long the crews will be in Preston County. Some of the workers are staying at Camp Dawson and others live close enough to go home at night. Clayton also refused to say how many additional workers are in Preston right now.

It’s a common practice in the DOH to move workers and resources around when needed, Clayton said. Some of the supplemental workers brought equipment, and some areas that couldn’t spare workers were able to loan equipment.

“We aren’t just ditching in Preston County, we are ditching in the entirety of District 4,” he stressed.

Clayton referred to Justice’s “get back to basics” approach of starting by cleaning ditches and opening drainage pipes. Once drainage is addressed, “you can start properly patching the potholes and addressing the paving needs,” Clayton said.

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