WSAZ Investigates | Road Slip Concerns

Progress towards a permanent fix is about to get underway.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 8:30 PM EST
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CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Families who live along one road in Cabell County say their daily commute just isn’t safe.

Neighbors say part of Hash Ridge Road started slipping a few years ago and has gotten worse with time.

“I’ve got scratches on the side of my car from sticks and everything sticking out,” Amber Kelly says.

Kelly said driving to and from her home along Hash Ridge Road in Cabell County each day is taking a toll on her car, as well as her patience.

Kelly says she scrapes her car on those branches trying to stay away from a massive slip that she said first developed about three years ago -- and has only gotten worse.

“It’s really dangerous,” Kelly said.

She says there is another way out of the area, but it makes her commute longer.

Kelly said her husband went to the local Division of Highways garage in January to try and talk with someone in-person about his concerns with the slip. However, he was told he needed an appointment.

So that’s when Kelly reached out to WSAZ -- hoping we could make a difference.

WSAZ started contacting the West Virginia Division of Highways to try and find out more about the slip and repairs.

We called the spokesperson for DOH. However, we didn’t get an answer, so we left a message.

Following that phone call, WSAZ went to see the slip firsthand.

When we arrived - we saw a sign that read “one lane road 1,000 feet” followed by traffic cones around the area of the slip, gravel over parts of the road and another sign telling drivers to “alternate with oncoming traffic.”

When Kelly first saw the cones, she was hopeful.

“I thought they were going to come and do something,” Kelly said.

After seeing the slip and hearing Kelly’s concerns, WSAZ reached out again to the same DOH spokesperson hoping to get some answers.

Within about a couple of hours, we received a reply that read in part, “we have selected a contractor to do the drilling and they should begin work this spring. Once that is completed, our teams will go in and finish the piling wall for a permanent fix,” Jennifer Dooley, Employee Engagement Coordinator at the West Virginia Division of Highways, said.

WSAZ reached out to the spokesperson about the construction process and what it would look like for neighbors. In addition, we asked to talk over Skype or Zoom for a virtual interview.

However, the spokesperson texted back and told us to send over the questions -- saying “I will likely need to talk to the district or a project manager to get complete, accurate, verifiable information,” Dooley said.

So, WSAZ sent over questions which included “why has it taken years to fix the issue” and “how often have crews come out and laid down gravel in the meantime?”

The next day, the spokesperson with DOH sent WSAZ an email providing information on the slip and repairs-- which reads in part:

“The first (recent) work performed at this location was in May of 2020. With the hilly terrain statewide, sometimes there are cracks in roads or minor settlements that don’t initially warrant installing piling walls or other major repairs. In those instances, patching with asphalt or adding gravel can stabilize a roadway for many years.

This slide, however, has worsened within the last year.

We have done intermittent work at the location while developing the long-term solution and country (sic) crews are at the location today.”

After learning crews were out at the site, WSAZ headed out to see what work was underway.

When we got there crews had already left, but it appeared that fresh gravel had been laid down.

In the days that followed, neighbors started reaching out saying they noticed crews had been out at the site, working on a temporary fix.

“Right after you were here, they threw down gravel, some more gravel. Kind of like because you all were here,” Fred Ward said.

“It was that evening, or the very next day, we heard that you were up here doing some filming. I don’t really believe in coincidences, so it was a little odd that they were up here that day,” Johnny Bradley said.

As this road slip continues to cave in, crews have been coming to lay down gravel to try and level out what’s left of the road. However, neighbors tell us that the temporary fix only lasts for so long and then it’s back trying to avoid falling into the slip.

Progress toward a permanent fix is about to get underway.

An electronic sign was just placed at the bottom of the road Wednesday, alerting drivers the road will be closed beginning next week.

We checked in with the spokesperson who tells us, as of Thursday afternoon, crews are planning to start that work next Wednesday -- weather dependent.

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