CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTP–West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) crews are working to open roads, clear mudslides, repair drainage structures and help flood damaged areas recover following excessive rainfall on August 15, 2022, declared a State of Emergency by Governor Jim Justice for Fayette and Kanawha Counties.
“Our crews in the Cannelton Hollow Road area in Smithers are working to get access for people, and to get to areas where repairs are needed,” said Jim Moore, P.E., District 9 Engineer. “What they’re running into is a soupy material. The area is so saturated that, as they’re clearing away the debris, it’s like working through mud soup.”
As communities work to clean up their homes and reach out to take care of their neighbors, WVDOH crews are repairing damage in areas throughout Fayette and Kanawha Counties.
As of the morning of August 16, a bridge wash out on Carbon Dale Road serving approximately ten residents was washed out. WVDOH crews were removing debris from the area and beginning work on a temporary bridge to provide access to the families, as the bridge is the only way in or out.
Crews working on West Virginia 16 were able to get a lane open for emergency vehicles. Crews continued working until dark, with the road still blocked. At dark, with “soupy material” still coming down the hillside, crew leaders determined it was unsafe to continue and crews resumed working at daylight. Clean up of WV 16 continues.
Crews were also on the ground at Scrabble Creek Road, near Gauley Bridge, working to assess the extent of significant damages and begin repairs.
“Our crews are working in dangerous situations,” said Alan Reed, P.E., State Highway Engineer. “This is difficult work and their hearts are in it. In each area, there are different challenges, high water, rocks coming down. We’re going to keep at it and work together to get the roads reopened and damage repaired and do so as quickly as possible.”
In Kanawha County, Campbell’s Creek, Hughes Creek and Kelley’s Creek were among the hardest hit areas. WVDOH crews are out cleaning ditches, drains and pipes in these areas. Maintenance personnel are gathering information and doing assessments for the larger repairs.
“We have had crews out through the storm and after,” said Kathy Rushworth, P.E., District 1 Maintenance Engineer. “They work to see what they can clear immediately and what will take more time, and immediately begin arranging any resources we will need to make longer term repairs.”
The August 15 rainfall was one of several events which caused damage to roads, culverts and bridges in the area. Crews continue to work to repair damage from earlier rain events throughout the region.
“Any time you have high water, we remind drivers to turn around,” said Joe Pack, P.E., Deputy State Highway Engineer. “We’ve seen the type of damage these high water events can cause. Put your health and safety first. We’re West Virginian’s, we will help each other and that’s what it takes. We’ll get it cleaned up and repaired, but we can’t replace a life, so please be aware when you see high water.”
West Virginia Division of Highways will keep the public informed as the clean up continues, and damage from the storms is repaired.