IVEL – Road crews continue to work on the mudslide that closed part of U.S. 23 two weeks ago. Officials from the Transportation Cabinet say one of the difficulties of repairing the mudslide is actually getting to it. Road crews have cleared approximately a mile of the hillside to get to the top of the mountain. Now, transportation department workers must work to move, rocks and trees before reaching the area where the mudslide occurred.
Crews detoured traffic through the Prater Creek area while they cleared debris from the roadway. The detour took over an hour for drivers to drive from Harold to Banner on the congested two-lane road. In addition to the extended drive time, several small accidents were occurring on the detour road as drivers were not accustomed to the long delays and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Highway officials say since opening up a portion of U.S. 23 by reducing a section of the roadway to two lanes, some drivers are causing dangerous conditions to the roadway workers.
Speeding has become a major concern along the section of the roadway. Four large dump trucks sit parked with their beds lifted in an effort to catch any falling rocks or debris before they hit traffic.
“When you go by where the mudslide happens, it doesn’t look like much work is being done,” said Cleo Hall of Harold. “I don’t know what is going on. It looks like they would hurry and finish the job so things could get back to normal.”
Officials say they are working diligently to repair the mudslide and get the roadway completely back open for motorists. They are concerned by the lack of concern and disregard by some motorists to follow posted reduced speeding limits. Some drivers continue to drive fast through the area and have hit several orange cones. One driver clipped a mirror on a transportation vehicle that was parked. Police have ramped up enforcement along that area of U.S. 23 and drivers caught speeding in a workzone will receive a ticket. If drivers continue to disregard the speed limit and drive recklessly officials have threatened to close down that section of roadway until the mudslide repair is completed.
Highway officials estimate the project could take six-to-eight weeks to complete, but that could change. In the meantime, officials urge all drivers to obey the speed limit and reduce their speed in the area and drive cautiously.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.