It’s no secret potholes are worse this year after a winter of above-average precipitation and below-average temperatures.
But in Charleston, city officials want the public to know which potholes they can and can’t fix.
The city placed signs along a pothole-ridden section of Bridge Road Monday directing drivers to call a state Division of Highways substation in North Charleston with maintenance concerns.
“I’m trying to get the citizens to help us,” Mayor Danny Jones said. “I’m not mad at anybody, but people are getting mad at us.”
Jones said he believes that section of Bridge Road is “the worst” in the city for potholes and deterioration.
But technically, that’s not the city’s responsibility.
The section of Bridge Road in question is part of a series of roads that ultimately connect U.S. 119 with Kanawha State Forest. The series includes all or parts of Oakwood, Bridge, Loudon Heights and Connell roads, and is supposed to be maintained by the state, city officials say.
Jones said city roads must take priority.
“We have our own roads to do first,” he said. “There’s so much competition for our asphalt, we’re doing the city roads first.”
Jones said there’s been a high amount of complaints about potholes this year, but the public isn’t aware of which roads are under city jurisdiction and which are under the state — and thus, the reason for the new signs.
West Virginia is one of four states that does not have county level of highway jurisdiction. That means that nearly all public roads in the state are maintained by the state, except for those located in municipalities, though the state maintains control of numbered routes within municipalities.
State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Bly said the rough winter has caused an $11 million overrun in road maintenance costs.
“This winter has been extremely hard on us,” she said. “We are very over budget.”
The department had originally budgeted just under $55 million for snow removal and related expenses, but this winter has ended up costing the department nearly $66 million.
Bly said the department is planning to move about $15 million from its contract paving budgets to help patch potholes around the state. The transfer may mean some low-priority road projects won’t get done this year.
But first, the weather needs to improve, and snow forecast for today doesn’t help matters.
Most asphalt plants also aren’t yet open for the season.
“We haven’t had the chance to go into full attack mode,” Bly said, later adding, “We’re ready to get out and do it.”
About 40 streets in the city of Charleston are actually under jurisdiction of the West Virginia Division of Highways.
In general, roads that bear a state or U.S. route number or that are around the State Capitol are state-controlled. The rest fall under city control, through there are several exceptions.
According to the city’s official street directory, the following roads in Charleston are within city limits, but under state jurisdiction:
n Interstates 64, 77 and 79.
n Corridor G.
n 5th Avenue, from Patrick Street to Iowa Street (U.S. 60).
n 7th Avenue, from Patrick Street westward (W.Va. 25).
n 35th Street East, from MacCorkle Avenue to Interstate 64/77.
n 36th Street East, from MacCorkle Avenue to Interstate 64/77.
n Airport Road, from Greenbrier Street to Yeager Airport.
n Alpha Road, from Chappell Road to the end of the street.
n Bigley Avenue (U.S. 119).
n Bridge Road, from Oakwood Road to Loudon Heights Road.
n California Avenue, from Kanawha Boulevard to Piedmont Road.
n Centre Way, from Parkway Road to South Central Regional Jail.
n Connell Road.
n Cross Terrace Boulevard.
n Ferry Street, from Thayer Street to the ramp to the South Side Bridge.
n Green Road.
n Greenbrier Street (W.Va. 114).
n Hillcrest Drive East, from Greenbrier Street to the end of the road.
n Iowa Street, from Washington Street West to 5th Avenue.
n Kanawha Boulevard, from Greenbrier Street east (U.S. 60).
n Kanawha Turnpike.
n Lee Street West and East, from Washington Street West to Brooks Street (U.S. 60).
n Loudon Heights Road, from Bridge Road to Connell Road.
n MacCorkle Avenue (W.Va. 61).
n Market Drive, between Pennsylvania Avenue and Bigley Avenue (U.S. 119).
n Mountaineer Boulevard (part).
n Mt. Alpha Road.
n Oakwood Road from Corridor G to Bridge Road.
n Parkway Road, from Southridge Boulevard to Corridor G.
n Patrick Street, from the Patrick Street Bridge to Washington Street West (U.S. 60 and W.Va. 25).
n Pennsylvania Avenue, from Kanawha Boulevard to Bigley Avenue near Market Drive (U.S. 119).
n Pennsylvania Avenue, from the intersection with Bigley Avenue near Lilly Street to the city limit (U.S. 119).
n Piedmont Road, from Sidney Avenue to California Avenue.
n Rebecca Street, from 7th Avenue to Washington Street West.
n RHL Boulevard.
n Sissonville Drive (C.R. 21).
n Sidney Avenue, from Washington Street East to Piedmont Road.
n Southridge Boulevard.
n Thayer Street.
n Washington Street East and West, from the 35th Street Bridge (east end) to the Kanawha Two-Mile Bridge (west end) (U.S. 60).
n Woodward Drive.