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VDOT crews trying to repair culverts

By Orlando Salinas, osalinas@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 23 2013 08:19:29 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 23 2013 08:19:57 AM EDT

VDOT says it's done tons so many repairs since the recent round of storms, the department lost count.

MONTGOMERY CO, Va. -

All the rain that's fallen so far this summer, has been hard on everybody, including workers from the Virginia Department of Transportation. VDOT says its' workers are the face of the agency and its' crews want the fixes done fast because there's a chance those crews live nearby and could be your neighbors.

Along Union Valley Road in Riner, in Montgomery County, we saw a handful of serious VDOT workers who were all about business.

Since late June, the WDBJ7 viewing area's been soaked with on again, off again storms, damaging homes and roads in just about every direction.

We found Jane Cole using her lawnmower in Pilot to blow freshly cut grass off her driveway. We asked Cole what she thought about all the rainfall, "It's been a months worth of rain."

The Virginia Department of Transportation Salem District covers 12 counties. It's crews, we're told, do more than 2 thousand culvert repairs and replacements a year. Those culverts, when working, lead water away from roads and minimize damage.

On this day, VDOT planned to work on more culverts, but it didn't happen. Jamie Smith with VDOT's Salem District met our crew in Riner.

Smith said the rain started the problems and it's the rain that's delaying the fix."We have some contractors who were planning on doing a culvert repair on Route 8 in Floyd County' said Smith, 'and because of the storms in the forecast for later today, they weren't able to get out there and start the work." Smith said she couldn't give a number of just the repairs from the recent floods because they're combined with repairs that were already scheduled. Either way, Smith said quote ''it's a ton of repairs."

Cole, who cut off the mower to speak with us, said whenever it rains too much, her culverts flood over,"There's two culverts right there, one of them is full and the top part of it has a big hole in it. It really needs to be replaced."

Something else I learned today, that I should have known sooner; many of these crews live around here. They trim trees, mow grass and maintain just about everything on these roads. Smith said workers wanted to fix more culverts today, but the rain wouldn't cooperate. "Our guys can't come out here and do these repairs when it's raining during the day' said Smith, 'not only is it causing the problem it's also hindering us at times from actually getting out there doing the work."