County says coal company refusing to repair road damage

Ralph B. Davis rdavis@civitasmedia.com

October 23, 2013

HUNTER — In 2010, residents of Stumbo Hollow saw blacktop laid on their road for the first time in 28 years. Within a couple of weeks, the $155,000 worth of new asphalt was reduced to gravel once again, and it remains in that state today.

County Judge-Executive R.D. “Doc” Marshall blames trucks hauling coal out of the hollow as the reason for the road’s swift decline, and he says he believes Blackhawk Mining should pay to restore the road to its former state. However, county officials said during Friday’s meeting of the Floyd County Fiscal Court that the company has balked at requests to fix the road.

“The only thing I’ve been able to get out of them is them saying, ‘We pay taxes,’” county road foreman Mike Jarrell told the court.

Attempts by The Floyd County Times to obtain a response from Blackhawk were unsuccessful, as of press time.

Officials discussing the problem Friday seemed unsure of what steps to take next. Part of the problem was uncertainty over whether the county ever had a written agreement with Blackhawk, requiring the company to repair the road. Marshall said he remembers discussing the road with company officials several years ago and reminding them that they needed to restore the road once mining operations were complete, but admitted he did not know if that was ever put in writing.

The court agreed to review any agreements the county has with Blackhawk in an effort to see if there is any written requirement to repair the road, prior to making any decision about whether to file suit in an attempt to compel the company to repair the road.