West Virginia Rock and Mud Slides Expensive to Clean Up

January 2, 2014

Recent rock and mud slides are straining the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s maintenance fund.

The cleanup of a rock slide in Raleigh County that has closed a section of W.Va. Route 3 could cost $500,000, DOT spokesman Brent Walker told WSAZ-TV.

Crews have been using explosives to blast three large boulders that fell onto the highway last week. DOT spokeswoman Carrie Bly said Monday that the road is expected to remain closed for at least 10 days.

Walker said the cleanup of a mudslide that cut off access to a road in Logan County earlier this month could cost even more than the Raleigh County incident.

“These have been pretty big deals and they’ve cost a lot of money to clean up,” he said.

Slides are common in West Virginia but most are small. Several hundred small slides have occurred around the state this year.

“San Francisco has their earthquakes and West Virginia has their slides. We’re used to that. That’s part of our world,” Walker said.

But add in the large slides, along with other maintenance costs, and the DOT’s maintenance fund could go over budget this year.

“Too many of these and we really start to see the effects on other programs like some resurfacing projects,” Walker said.

Cleanups involve more than removing rock, mud and debris from roads.

“We’ve got to secure the hillside. We have to make repairs to the damaged road,” Walker said.

The DOT also has to reinstall guardrails and signs.

Transportation officials hope that the winter is mild so there won’t be many potholes to fix.

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