Progress being made on I-77 rockslide clean-up - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Progress being made on I-77 rockslide clean-up

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MERCER COUNTY -

Just two days after a massive rockslide shut down parts of I-77, 59 News was wondering, how do crews try to prevent this from happening?

Three excavators are working hard on the scene of the rockslide.  Since the rocks fell on Wednesday, the pile of debris has doubled.  Our 59 News Crews were not allowed to get up close to the scene because of the dangerous work going on.  The road crews are working to stabilize the land on the top of the mountain to prevent future rockslides.  This requires more debris to be pushed down over the mountain and for crews to haul away all of the rubble. It still remains a dangerous work zone.

It is incredible no one was injured in that major rockslide that happened on Wednesday. The Department of Transportation provided 59 News with raw footage of the rockslide.  It can be found here.  59 News wanted to know what lead to the discovered of the potential problem.

"They noticed some rocks in the road and cleaned it up and a while later, they noticed more and investigated it close and noticed a lot of the rocks had fractured and were on the verge of falling," Tom Camden, DOH District 10 Manager said.

Camden said crews are trained to look out for changes or sudden shifts on the face of the mountain. He said they routinely perform inspections to prevent this from happening. Camden could only recall one other rockslide this extreme.  He said that one happened in McDowell County but this one that happened in Mercer County is the largest one he has witnessed.

"This one was impressive and obviously if it was just a matter of cleaning up the debris it wouldn't be a problem the problem is the unburden that has to come down," Camden continued.

Camden hoped crews will be able to stabilize the land by the weekend in order to open one lane. Until that time, travelers are being rerouted to route 460, very inconvenient for some, but worth the extra miles to stay safe.