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Rockslide closes part of U.S. 60 near Cedar Grove

A rock fall on U.S. 60 near Cedar Grove shut down the highway for about 12 hours Thursday as crews removed debris and repaired damage.

About 10 a.m. Thursday, Metro 911 received a call about the slide. Cedar Grove Police Sgt. J.M. Hess was the first to respond and made the decision to close the road.

No vehicles were involved, and there were no injuries.

The Division of Highways was turning around eastbound through traffic just beyond the Chelyan bridge by 11:30 a.m. One lane of U.S. 60 was reopened by early afternoon for emergency vehicles.

The fall originated about 200 feet up the hill on the north side of the road. As the boulders and smaller rocks fell, they ripped trees and other debris from the ground, clearing a path that was visible up the side of the hill.

West Virginia Division of Highways spokesman Brent Walker said rockslides have occurred in the area before, and smaller slips occur throughout the year.

"It's just part of cutting roads into hillsides," he said.

A construction project farther east on U.S. 60 from Thursday's slip is in response to a rockslide that happened last year. Walker said the Division of Highways sets aside part of its budget each year for repairs related to rockslides.

"There are things you can't predict," he said.

In addition to the location of the road against a steep hill, Walker said there was "no doubt" recent rainfall also contributed to the rockslide.

According to National Weather Service records, 2.21 inches of rain have fallen in Charleston since July 19.

Upon inspection, the Division of Highways found no other weak points in the hillside that could cause another fall.

"There's nothing that gives us cause for concern," Walker said.

Thursday's event isn't the only slide to disrupt traffic recently.

Just this week, highway officials decided to close a section of W.Va. 10 between Man and Logan because construction work on an adjacent hill caused the hill to become unstable. Earlier this month, a father and son were injured after a rock fell on their vehicle from the hill.

In March, a large rockslide shut down the northbound lanes of I-77 near Bluefield for an entire week.

Walker said that rockslides and rock falls are a natural part of living and driving in a mountainous state.

"San Francisco has their earthquakes, and we have slips and slides," he said.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.


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