Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 20, 2013

Interstate 77 northbound lanes near Bluefield to remain closed tonight due to large rock slide

BLUEFIELD — See video here:

Northbound lanes of Interstate 77 stretching approximately four miles from the East River Mountain Tunnel will remain closed tonight while state Department of Highway crews work to clear a major rock slide.

Northbound traffic is being rerouted at Exit 1 to John Nash Boulevard. From there, vehicles heading north are sent down U.S. Route 460 to Princeton where they can get back on I-77. A rock slide is blocking the highway between the three and four mile markers. Crews started working to clear the debris, but much of it and the rock face it came from remains dangerous, said District 10 Manager Tom Camden.

“We did go up the mountain,” he told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. “It appears that there’s quite a bit of unstable material still there. We’re looking at that now to see what we can do to move it before we can open the road. The ground above it has moved and we’re afraid it’s going to come down.”

DOH personnel with flags are moving traffic along on Route 460, Camden said.

Traffic is at a near standstill on U.S. 460, eastbound from Crumpecker Hill to at least as far as the Ingleside Road exit, according to Daily Telegraph sports writer Tom Bone.

The Virginia State Police has issued a travel advisory warning people traveling north on I-77 in Bland County, Va. that there are significant delays through the area. The traffic is down to one lane in Bland County at this time.

One of the vehicles that had been stuck on I-77 was a replica of the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley, which was being hauled to a festival in Putman County. The original submersible was the first craft of its type of sink an ship; unfortunately, the sub’s crew died in the attack. The full-size replica is a mobile exhibit.

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