SUNDIAL, W.Va. — Those who travel Route 3 through Raleigh County to work may be leaving considerably earlier in the next week. A massive rock slide on Friday blocked the road and the cleanup won’t go as quickly as most would like.

“It’s probably the largest intact rockslide we have ever seen,” said stateDepartment of Transportation Spokesman Brent Walker of the massive boulders which dislodged from the hillside.

One boulder of the slide is more than two stories tall and is accompanied by dozens of other boulders the size of cars and trucks. The Division of Highways is working with contractor Vecellio and Grogan Construction to come up with ways to move the slide out of the road. The work isn’t going quickly.

“We’re clearly another 10 days to two weeks away from getting this thing cleaned up off the roadway,” said Walker. “Not just cleaned up, but undoubtedly there are going to have to be some repairs made to the road, the guardrail, and just to shore up that hillside.”

Workers started blasting the larger rocks on Sunday. After each shot they moved in with heavy equipment and started moving away the smaller boulders.

The detour for many who use the road is taking an hour or longer in some cases.

“This is the world we live in,” said Walker. “We feel bad about that, but these are the things you just can’t predict.”


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  • sam

    Are these companies from West Virginia? Or some political buddy system. Where are all the high paid engineers that wvdoh has? this is just sorry......

    • Wowbagger

      Vecellio and Grogan is a Beckley, WV Company that built a substantial portion of the interstate highway system in the region, not just West Virginia. They employed a lot of West Virginians during that period. After the interstates were completed they did some surface mining in southern WV. They are a local company and a natural for an emergency like this in Raleigh County.

      For highway projects DOH does the design work land acquisition and so forth, then they contract out the construction. Also I'm not sure they have the equipment to handle such a massive rockfall.

      DOH tries to maintain crews to clean ditches, do minor repairs, and clear snow. Frankly they do not pay competitive salaries. There are lots of jobs for the same pool of workers both professional and laborers preparing well sites, drilling shale wells, related infrastructure and pipelines in northern West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio these days.

      West Virginia state government is almost literally falling apart due to uncompetitive salaries and to an extent benefits. Most workers haven't had a significant raise in a decade. These "high paid" engineers, some scientists, and good workers can more than double their salaries in shale gas and related industry jobs these days.

    • John

      Vecellio and Grogan Construction is from WV.

  • TruthTeller

    Two weeks seems to be the standard for all con-artist contractors. Anybody remember the movie Money Pit? Why could they not just use jack hammers, a bulldozer and a dump truck?
    I could have that done in 4 to 5 days tops. I wish
    people would stop ripping people off because they are so greedy!!!

    • John

      TruthTeller ? Far from it. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. How do you plan to load that dump truck genius ? By hand ? A bulldozer isn't going to do it. The only way you could clear that in 5 days is if hot air could get the job done.

  • Wowbagger

    These guys appear to be loading holes with explosives. They are probably Vecellio and Grogan employees or subcontractors. Don't know what sort of explosives, but probably not ammonium nitrate based. I am no expert, but I would say that they are more than likely licensed and know what they are doing including how to dress under the circumstances. The third photo shows a guy who is properly dressed with safety equipment.

  • Polly the Pundit

    Good point...and that ladder doesn't exactly look safe. Sadly, WV is not an OSHA state and we seem to like to kill our workforce off prior to intiating changes designed to improve worker safety...

    • A Different Joe

      Surely you don't think OSHA doesn't exist in WV???

  • Larry

    I'm shocked that the guys in these pictures have no PPE on, no hard hats, safety glasses, nothing.

  • Dave, just Dave.