News Release


District 10 • 338 Muskingum Drive • Marietta, Ohio 45750 •

ODOT Crews Keep Highways Safe

Marietta (July 24, 2009) – Motorists traveling through District 10 of ODOT will notice crews cutting dirt and clearing the berm on various highways. One example is on State Route 7 through Washington County, about a mile south of the State Route 550 intersection.

Clearing the berm focuses on re-establishing the slope to facilitate proper drainage and eliminate "pooling" of water on the road. Excessive pooling causes pavement damage, an increase in hydroplaning and icy spots in the winter.

"In hilly, rural areas such as Washington County, drainage is a major concern," stated Jim Kemp, Washington County Transportation Manager. "Water can make the road surface very dangerous and cause several potential hazards for motorists. Safety is our main concern for travelers, so we are very focused on this project."

Proper drainage is very important as it adds longevity to pavement, culverts, catch basins, and other drainage structures. Moreover, cutting the dirt below the guardrail maintains appropriate height and prevents water from channelizing and accelerating, which may cause potential washouts, slips, and premature deterioration of guardrail posts.

"Repairing a damaged culvert or slip is very evasive work." said Bob Roush, District 10 Highway Management Specialist. "We have to close roads, remove pavement and then assess the damage. Since our district has the largest number of culverts, water management is very important to us and berm clearing is vital to that management process."

Crews began clearing the berm on Monday, July 20th and are averaging over two miles per day. The clearing process is labor intensive, consisting of three steps. First, heavy equipment such as a trackhoe and excavator are used to clear the dirt from underneath the guardrail. Second, a front-mounted brush sweeps the dirt into a neat pile where finally a machine scoops up the dirt and conveys it into a dump truck to later be used as a stabilizer on other slopes.

"Although this is a labor intensive project, our crews are moving ahead of schedule," explained Kemp. "We should be on State Route Seven for two more weeks and then continue on to other state routes."

From August through September, motorists will continue to see various state routes reduced to one lane during the berm clearing project.

As part of District 10's mission to "create consistent, accurate, and open communication to the public", we have created a video that shows the State Route 7 berm clearing project in action.Click HERE for the 2009 Construction website, then click on State Route 7 Berm Cleaning Video.