Steep road slip in Cabell County concerning neighbors

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 11:35 PM EDT
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CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Each day, drivers along Madison Creek Road carefully navigate around a steep slip. They will often spot their neighbor, Darrell Ross, helping guide them past it.

“It’s awful, it’s rough,” he said. “We have school buses coming through here, I think there’s either four or five school buses coming through here every day of the week, morning and night.”

Ross said this is not the first time there has been a slip along the road. He recalled two years ago, when a bigger portion of the road was part of the slip.

A spokesperson for the West Virginia Division of Highways told WSAZ, the road had initially slipped due to “a steep slope combined with runoff.” The spokesperson also said the first slip was repaired with a 125-foot piling wall.

However, Ross said shortly after, parts of the road once again began to slip.

“It just seemed like it wasn’t a month after they fixed this, it started and just kept breaking up and breaking off,” he observed. “Sooner or later, somebody’s gonna go over here and get hurt or maybe even get killed.”

Off the road and into the slip are rocks, litter and traffic cones that have dropped off the road.

Ross said he was told by the Division of Highways the slip could not be repaired until utilities moved their lines, so room could be made to make the repairs. As he increasingly became concerned, he reached out to WSAZ.

“I watched WSAZ and I’ve seen a lot of you guys help people get things fixed and if it wasn’t for you, guys, a lot of these people that live on these off-roads like this will never see anything get done.”

WSAZ’s Kimberly Donahue reached out to the Division of Highways asking why the road slipped again, why power lines needed to be moved to fix the slip and if there were any plans in place to fix the slip or create an alternate route.

A spokesperson said:

Additional slippage occurred on the steep embankment, which was temporarily repaired with rock until the permanent repair is completed.

The project requires movement of the utility because we cannot disrupt service to citizens by damaging those utilities. Permanent repairs will be made when the utility company completes relocation.

Donahue followed up asking if the agency spoke with the utility company, to find out the status of the relocation. The spokesperson responded, saying they spoke with the utility and “The approximate time frame for their relocation is 4 - 6 weeks. Our design engineers are working on the project and will provide any additional site information they need.”

Donahue reached out to Appalachian Power, asking when the conversations took place between the company and the Division of Highways. The company spokesperson was checking on the dates of those conversations.

Ross said he feels encouraged.

“It makes me feel better at least, they’re gonna try to do something hopefully, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

However, as fall rolls into winter, Ross said he is worried about the rocks getting loose and the slip getting worse. He said he just wants to see something change before someone gets seriously hurt.

“You think the school buses with those kids on it, if they come through here, and this has happened to break off because the buses are heavy,” he said. “School buses are here, if that happened to break up while they drover over it they would just roll over the bank.”