WV Press InSight Videos

Blasting under way to clear massive rockslide

Photo by Brandi Underwood A thick cloud of dust and debris fills the air Sunday afternoon as crews drill deep into the rock face to insert explosives as part of the blasting preparations at the rock slide blocking W.Va. 3 near Sundial. Division of Highways engineers stated Sunday that there is no set timeline on the cleanup and road repair efforts, but they are working hard and hope to see the road reopened within a week.
Photo by Brandi Underwood
A thick cloud of dust and debris fills the air Sunday afternoon as crews drill deep into the rock face to insert explosives as part of the blasting preparations at the rock slide blocking W.Va. 3 near Sundial. Division of Highways engineers stated Sunday that there is no set timeline on the cleanup and road repair efforts, but they are working hard and hope to see the road reopened within a week.

By Brandi Underwood
Register-Herald

SUNDIAL, W.Va. — Drilling and blasting work began Sunday morning in an effort to break up three enormous sandstone masses that currently obstruct both lanes of W.Va. 3 near Sundial.

The rocks broke loose from the mountainside and crashed across Coal River Road between Sundial and Pettry Bottom just before 5 p.m. Friday.

Division of Highways assistant district engineer Alan Reed said that their primary concern right now is just moving the massive rocks from the roadway.

“We’re going to blast it and haul it out of here,” Reed said. “That’s the first step.”

Beckley-area highway contractor Vecellio and Grogan has been contracted by DOH to spearhead the project and Beckley Drilling and Blasting was subcontracted to coordinate the blasting work.

“They were nearest to us and could mobilize quickly,” Reed explained.

The first blast rumbled through the vicinity just before noon Sunday, after which a portion of the largest rock fell into the river below.

“It’s already a lot smaller now than it was,” said Reed.

As far as an estimation for when the road will be back in working order, Reed said it’s touch and go at this point.

“It depends on however long it takes us to blast this rock out,” he said. “It’s hard to make that prediction. We’ve been saying hopefully by the end of the week.”

W.Va. 3 resident Donna Hayes lives in a home just a stone’s throw down the way from the slide and was on the site Sunday taking pictures to share with family members out of state.

“We told them two years ago to fix that (rock) and they didn’t,” said Hayes…

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