CEDAR GROVE, W.Va. — Heavy rain over the weekend created more problems for the state Division of Highways and contractors working for Appalachian Power along U.S. Route 60 at Cedar Grove eastern Kanawha County. The rain loosened more material which slid into the roadway which has been closed since last week.
“Debris and a lot of slop right now is coming down into the roadway,” said DOH spokesman Brent Walker. “As that comes down we’re able to clean it up, but unfortunately it continues to be an unstable hillside.”
Work to stabilize the 100 to 200-foot section of the steep bank alongside the road continues to be a complicated process. Walker said Appalachian Power’s contractor made progress in reopening an old service road the company build above the cliff in 2011. The slide originated further up the mountain, but the road has enabled them to get heavy equipment into the area further up the mountain.
“They’re trying to stabilize it at the top. We think that will go a long way in helping us stabilize the bottom,” he said.
The highway is closed until further notice which is causing a major delay for those trying to travel in eastern Kanawha County. Trips which normally take 10 minutes are now extended to well over an hour detour across the nearest bridges at Chelyan or Montgomery and traveling state Route 61 on the opposite bank of the Kanawha River.
“We’re close, but we can’t work any faster than we have,” Walker said. “We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature and that hillside, but as soon as we can of course we want to open at least one lane.”
However, Walker said they aren’t there yet and work to shore up the mountain is ongoing.