Risk of slips and slides on WV roads increase with cold weather - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Risk of slips and slides on WV roads increases with cold weather

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Risk of slips and slides on WV roads increase with cold weather Risk of slips and slides on WV roads increase with cold weather

West Virginia is no stranger to mudslides and road slips. In the past ten days, dozens of cases were reported to the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Bryan Lewis, who lives along Hubbards Branch Road near Ceredo, was one of the most recent victims.  

"Had a rock fall off a hill and hit my garage," said Lewis. "I came out to check it, that's when a larger chunk of rock fell off and destroyed the garage."  

The slide destroyed Lewis' garage and shed while knocking his house off its foundation. Last week, a slide on Madison Creek Road in Logan County stranded an entire community.

(BACKGROUND: Voluntary evacuation for residents of Madison Creek Road)

Brent Walker, the director of communications for the WV Department of Transportation said living with slips and slides is a reality all West Virginians live with.

"When you are on top of mountains, cutting in, and you're disturbing the earth, the risk is always there," said Walker.  

As temperatures continue to drop, the risk of slips and slides increase. When the ground goes back and forth between freezing and thawing, it loosens up the dirt.  

"We live our lives building roads in and through mountains," said Walker. "You can't predict [slides] and when mother nature decides when they want to come down, there is very little you can do."  

Officials say they try their best to keep commuters safe. Crews monitor the roads for debris that could signal a future slide in the area.  

Walker explained that the department has a contingency fund in place to make road repairs. But many times, demand is so high that funds run out before all secondary roads can be permanently fixed.  

"If we feel we can get a school bus or emergency vehicle through, all the while thinking about safety, we may have to leave the road like that short-term until we can secure the funds," he said.