CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Motorists depending on W.Va. 10 to travel between Man and Logan have been thrown a curve after the West Virginia Division of Highways decided to shut down an 8-mile section of the road for the next three months.
The closure is in response to instability of a hillside along W.Va. 10 near the highway's intersection with Rum Creek Road.
"This isn't a decision we made lightly," said division spokesman Brent Walker.
Starting yesterday, W.Va. 10 is closed to traffic from Rum Creek Road to Man.
The official detour for the closure takes drivers along Rum Creek Road to Kelly Mountain Road and then on to Buffalo Creek Road into Man -- a distance of over 17 miles. An alternate detour takes drivers from Man south on W.Va. 80 to Gilbert, then west on U.S. 52 to W.Va. 44 to Logan -- about 40 miles.
Despite the distance, Walker said that the detour won't greatly increase travel time because the contractor in charge of the W.Va. 10 construction already had regular road closures.
"It's not much longer than if you had to wait on Route 10 for 15 minutes," he said.
However, the roads hosting the detour are not made for heavy traffic and include several sharp curves. Walker said that the Division of Highways is examining the route and may add guardrails and new asphalt in certain areas.
Residents in Man, though, have expressed concern about having to use back roads to reach Logan, which has the only hospital in the area.
"It is kind of a hardship," said Man Mayor Jim Blevins. "The only thing we can do is hope and pray nothing will happen."
Blevins said that although the temporary closure isn't ideal, he believes it is necessary because of recent incidents involving rocks falling into the road and onto cars, including falling debris that injured a father and son on July 11.