North Central West Virginia is one of the most landslide-prone areas in the United States.
Blame it on the state’s topography: steep hillsides and layers of soft, slippery shales and claystones.
“It’s not something we can plan ahead for. We just have to wait for it to happen, unfortunately. We don’t know when and where they will occur,” said Earl Gaskins, WVDOH District 4 Engineer.
But add in record rainfall and wildly fluctuating temperatures, and the result has been an onslaught of landslides.
“We are seeing them in places that never moved before, right now,” said Gaskins. “Especially in our immediate area, such as Doddridge and Harrison County, we have a lot of them that just seem to be appearing out of no where.”
DOH officials said 30 percent of the CORE maintenance budget is set aside for emergency situations, like the temporary repair of the land slide here on Route 131 in Harrison County.
“A slide is what we consider emergency,” said Gaskins. “It is not something we plan for, it’s not part of our CORE maintenance plan, we don’t have forces dedicated simply to do that. It’s just a situation we have to react to, obviously it’s very important, so we’ll stop whatever we are doing and just focus on getting that taken care of.”