DOH and Appalachian Power form plan for Rt 60 slip

CEDAR GROVE, W.Va. — The Department of Highways and Appalachian Power have formulated a plan to fix a major slide which shutdown U.S. Route 60. However, a timeline for completion of the repairs is up in the air.

“When you look at it from Route 60 it doesn’t look like much,” said Appalachian Power Spokesman Phil Moye, “But when you get up there on that hillside area, there’s a lot of earth that’s moved and a lot of water flowing out of the hillside. It’s pretty complex.”

Appalachian Power has been brought into the project because of an access road they created in the area which is now in the path of the slide.

“This occurred above the access road, but it’s in that same area,” said Moye.

The access was created in 2011 to enable contractors to install electricity transmission lines across the mountain.  Once the work was done and the equipment removed, the road was left in place, but is no longer used or needed to access the right of way.   Appalachian Power is handling the work to shore up the slide up the high side of the spill and the Department of Highways is working on the roadway below to remove debris as it falls.  Moye said the people they have on the job are familiar with the area.

“The contractors who helped build that road and stabilize the hillside area during the construction effort are back on site,” he said. “They are very familiar with the situation.”

Part of the problem is a high volume of water flowing out of the mountain in that area.  Initially, the Department of Highways believed the water was coming from an abandoned mine.  The Department of Environmental Protection was called in and determined a mine was not the source of the continuing water flow down the hill.

“We’re clearing trees that came down as part of the slide.  We’re removing debris and then diverting the water.  There’s a lot of water flow in the area,” Moye said.

The work is now underway, but because of the complex nature of the repair along with the volume of material they are having to remove, Moye said it was impossible to give an estimation on a time of completion. Until then, motorists will have to continue the inconvenience of detouring across the Kanawha River at Chelyan and Montgomery and traveling State Route 61 as an alternative.