Transportation officials give an update on Route 3 rockslide - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Transportation officials give an update on Route 3 rockslide

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Photo Courtesy: WVDOT Photo Courtesy: WVDOT
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People in the Naoma area say they are inconvenienced since parts of Route 3 are still shut down.

Workers with the West Virginia Department of Transportation say the hillside there is extremely unstable.  Workers have been using excavators.  The rock there has been blasted multiple times.

"The more rock we push down, the more rock we see that's unstable.  So we don't know how far deep these layers will go," said Brent Walker with the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

Workers say they have seen the largest rocks over their career fall down on this site.  That is why Walker says opening up Route 3 is far more complicated than it looks.  He also says the area is too unstable for emergency vehicles to make it through.

Workers say they have nearby homes and a confined space to work in.  They also say they will not just dump all of the rocks into the nearby river, because there is an endangered species that lives in there and dumping rock into the river could create flooding issues.  Workers are also being careful at the site, since there are power lines near the site.

59News is told after all of the rock is blasted from up high, hauling the huge rocks that have already fallen, in addition to what else will come down will take place around the clock.

Another issue creating delays is the weather, as rain turns dirt into mud.

Workers say at this point, because of all of these issues, it is impossible to know when the area will re-open.