Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 7, 2014

Rockslide threat closes Route 1 in McDowell

IAEGER — The threat of a major rockslide on Route 1 between Iaeger and Panther in the Litwar vicinity prompted the West Virginia Division of Highways to close the road about one-half mile west of the Iaeger Super Stop, according to a spokesperson for McDowell County 911.

“The slide is on Route 1, not too far from the Three-Way in Iaeger,” 911 spokesman John Sidote said. “The road is closed going both ways.”

Sidote said the detour routes are involved. “For people headed east, you need to back-track toward Panther State Park and keep heading south until you can reconnect with Route 80. Most people know where they are when the get to Route 80. Leaving Panther and going north, you go up Isaban to Gilbert Creek, into Mingo County and make your way to U.S. Route 52.”

Tom Camden, manager of District 10, DOH, said he was briefed about the situation early Sunday afternoon. “It hasn’t happened yet,” Camden said at that time, but he added that the big rock — perhaps as big as 40-by-20 feet — “appears to be moving,” he said.

“There is enough of a concern that the guys have taken action,” Camden said. “It’s too dangerous to put anyone in that area.”

He said the sign department is installing detour signs to help people to avoid the section of road that is closed.

“It’s the same kind of problem a lot of our roads have in this area,” Camden said. “The roads are carved out of sheer mountain sides where rocks can work loose and slide due to the freezing and thawing action of water.”

Sidote said that travelers in Welch have another rockslide issue to deal with on Riverside Drive. “This one happened on Friday morning near the intersection with Lake Drive on the Coney Island side of Riverside Drive. The detour for that rock slide is the Welch Bypass. Traffic could be tied up there for some time.”

— Contact Bill Archer at

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