Yeager takes proactive step with hillside collapse

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Yeager Airport board officials took an emergency vote Wednesday to accept a contract proposal to tear down nearly 146,000 cubic yards of what’s left of the airport’s hill that collapsed in March.

Board members voted to hire S&E Clearing and Hydroseeding to remove a significant part of the overrun area.

“What they’re going to do is begin removing the material from the top, so that hopefully we can avoid any more significant slides coming down off the face,” said airport spokesman Mike Plante.

The airport planned on using their insurance money to pay for work, but the company, AIG Aerospace, can’t afford the estimated $855,000.

Airport Director Rick Atkinson said they’re seeking coverage expenses from insurance companies of the engineering firm and contractors who built the overrun area that collapsed.

“The amount of material that has fallen in the engineered field is just a small part of it. There’s still a bunch more material up there that could fall and could cause additional problems down below,” said Plante.

Officials are concerned about the hilltop collapsing even more and want to eliminate the possibility of the Elk Twomile Creek backing up again and flooding along Greenbrier Street.

The hillside work is scheduled to take place during the evening hours. Plante said lawyers have been meeting and have a few details to iron out, but the work should start soon.

Recently, crews installed cameras around the slope, creek, and areas along Keystone Drive, so the site can be monitored 24 hours a day.

Stream gauges will also be installed in the creek in the next couple weeks to alert residents of any future flooding, if that were to occur.

As of Wednesday, Plante said nearly a handful of residents are still displaced in hotel rooms.