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DOH workers from around state help with ice storm damage

Crews from West Virginia Division of Highways District 4 have been sent to help in District 2, which was hit hard by recent ice storms.

District 4 sent four transportation workers from Doddridge County, five transportation workers from Harrison County, a maintenance assistant and a disforce crew leader, according to District 4 Engineer Mike Cronin. Disforce is the DOH heavy maintenance crews, which do specialized work and can operate equipment other transportation workers can’t.

Monongalia County is part of District 4, but no workers from the county were sent to District 2. Cronin said he tried to send people from counties that weren’t hit as hard by the weather difficulties.

The crews will stay in hotels and are expected to be away for about a week.

District 2 includes Cabell, Lincoln and Wayne counties. Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in those three counties as well as Putnam County on Tuesday. The counties are dealing with power outages and road blockages because of the recent winter storm.

Scott Eplin, District 2 Engineer, estimated there are thousands of trees down in District 2. Those trees are blocking roads and resting on power lines. Clearing trees from the road is one thing but dealing with ones in power lines requires coordination with the power company.

As of Wednesday afternoon, around 65,000 customers are still without power according to the Appalachian Power outage map.

District 10 also sent help to District 2. Districts 7, 8, and 9 sent crews to help in District 1, which includes Putnam County – whose district headquarters was among those without power on Tuesday.

“Our employees didn’t flinch when asked to assist our neighbors in District 2,” said District 10 Engineer Joe Pack. “They immediately began making plans to be away from their families to provide help, as requested, and also provided constructive comments on necessary equipment and tools to take with them.”

There is a winter weather advisory in effect for parts of southwest Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia through Friday morning. Morgantown is expected to get between 3-5 inches of snow.