CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) road crews from Fayette and Nicholas counties continue to work long hours to clear mudslides and reopen roads in Carbondale, Smithers, Cannelton Hollow, Gauley Bridge and other communities hit hard by heavy localized thunderstorms.
“The Cannelton Hollow area and WV 16 were our hardest hit areas,” said WVDOH District 9 Engineer Jim Moore, P.E.
On Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in Fayette and Kanawha counties after heavy rains damaged more than 100 homes, bridges and roads.
“WV 16, going from Gauley Bridge up the Nicholas County line, originally had six pretty major mudslides that came down into the road,” Moore said. Fayette County crews, clearing mud from the southern end of the mudslides, and Nicholas County crews, working down from the north, were making good headway clearing the mudslides when more heavy rains came through on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.
Rains hit hard near the community of Jodie.
“Even though we had the roads cleared up, the ditches and the pipes were still clogged, so all that water had nowhere to go,” Moore said. “It flooded the road again and caused a huge new mudslide to come down.”
On Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, road crews were aggressively attacking the latest mudslides and concentrating on clearing ditch lines and culverts to divert any new rain that might come down.
On Carbondale Road, WVDOH road crews were putting the finishing touches on an emergency causeway to free about 10 families who were trapped after a bridge washed out. The causeway, made of gravel over a series of culverts, was expected to be finished by the end of the day.
The causeway will serve as a way in and out until a new bridge can be built.
Moore said about 120 WVDOH workers from Fayette and Nicholas counties were working to clear roads and help local families.
“All of these folks are putting in long hours, 12 hours a day or more, just trying to serve these communities, where we live, too.”
In Kanawha County, crews continued to clean up storm debris and clear roadways of downed trees. Campbell’s Creek, Hughes Creek and Kelly’s Creek were hit hard by storms.
“We are clearing out ditches, but fortunately we don’t have a lot of damage,” said WVDOH District 1 Maintenance Engineer Kathy Rushworth, P.E. “We’re fortunate not to have any bridges washed out or slides to clean up.”