Slide closes U.S. Route 60 in Kanawha County

CEDAR GROVE, W.Va.U.S. Route 60 in eastern Kanawha County could be closed for several days before a unstable hillside near Cedar Grove according to officials with the state Division of Highways.

DOH crews worked all weekend to clear debris from a rock slide in hopes of getting the busy road back open Monday morning, but that work didn’t amount to much.

“We had a lane open and then about 30 minutes later we shut it back down because of the instability,” said DOH spokesman Brent Walker.

The slide area is about 150 feet long and hangs high above the roadway. A large amount of debris including rocks, mud and trees poured onto the roadway Saturday night. However, there’s plenty more where that came from and Walker added they can’t determine the root of the cause.

“It continues to be really hyper-saturated,” said Walker. “It’s forced us to close it down and really figure out how we can get that thing fixed.”

Walker said the project has now grown beyond the capabilities of their equipment and personnel so they’ll hire a contractor to do the work on an emergency basis. They’ve also been in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection fearing the water was coming from an old mine site. DEP inspectors determined it wasn’t mine water. Now engineers from Appalachian Power are being consulted since the power company has a road above the slide area. Walker said they aren’t assigning blame to the road, but wanted the power company in on the discussion of repairs.

“Route 60 is a major U.S. route for us and certainly we can’t keep it closed very long,” Walker said. “But we’ve got to figure out how we can clean that up, how we can fix it, and also how to stabilize that hillside. That’s the most important part.”

For the time being, traffic is being detoured to state Route 61 on the opposite side of the Kanawha River at the Lopez Bridge in Chelyan and the bridge at Montgomery.

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