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High oil costs equal potholes

July 16, 2011
The Inter-Mountain


Back in January and February of this year, people were discussing how roads were going to fall apart in Upshur County due to the lack of work that was going to be done on them. This lack of upkeep was due to the fact that asphalt would be too expensive to use since it uses oil to make it.

According to Wikipedia, on Jan. 31, the Brent price per barrel of oil went to $100 for the first time since October of 2008. This helped drive gasoline and diesel prices to a record high in price per gallon across the state. Many of these prices exceeding $4 per gallon as opposed to only one year ago when the average price per gallon was only $2.92. With this new record price in fuel bills, it would cost the Department of Highways too much to haul the asphalt to the places it needed to be used the most.

In the last couple months, the state road has been and can still be seen doing a fair amount of road work, but mostly on Route 33 heading east and west. They appear to be doing all the work on just the sides of the road. One stretch of road side that was paved is heading toward Elkins and they are in the beginning process of starting to pave toward Weston.

There are roads within the city limits of Buckhannon that a person can damage the underside of their vehicle on. Meanwhile, many of the rural roads in the county continue to fall into decay and are becoming impassable to the people that live on these roads.

Why is the DOH paving the sides of a limited access highway instead of the roads that are in significantly worse condition especially if it is going to be so much more expensive to do any type of road work requiring the use of asphalt?

A person can drive on any number of roads in Upshur County and find places for the DOH to use their resources. It is nothing new to see roads in these areas go into decay after a bad winter, but to see these roads go into this horrid shape due to a lack of proper upkeep and incorrect funding is inexcusable. It would appear that much of the funding for road work is in as much disarray as the majority of the funding for many of the state's other projects.

Todd Zickefoose




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