Saturated soil leads to rock slides and road closures in Southwest Virginia


    (WCYB/Brandon Hicks)

    Two rock slides happened within minutes of each other in Southwest Virginia Thursday morning.

    VDOT responded to a large boulder and debris that blocked the right lane of traffic on Interstate 81 near Chilhowie.

    In Clintwood, another slide happened on Route 83. It reduced traffic to one lane during the busy morning commute.

    “We’ll ensure that the area is stable and then clear off any of the debris that are unstable once it’s settled, once the rain has stopped,” VDOT Spokesperson Michelle Earl said.

    Even though the road was clear by mid-morning, VDOT will have to wait until Monday to make repairs because the ground is so wet.

    Earl said slides are typical during the rainy spring months, but this year, it has come early.

    “We do have some slide-prone areas that we are watching and anticipate some movement with all the weather we’ve had,” Earl said.

    Across Southwest Virginia, nearly 20 roads were closed Thursday morning because of flooding.

    “You have to be careful on the rock cuts as you’re going over some of the mountain sides and those curves and up and down the ridges,” New York resident Nancy Hobbs said while traveling through the region. “I know that the ground is super-saturated. It is up where I live as well. It’s going to happen.” :08

    VDOT recommends using the Virginia 511 app to check conditions before you get out on the roadway.

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