One lane of Gardner Road, a school bus route for PikeView Middle and High Schools, has collapsed. Repairs are waiting on environmental approval.
Recent rains have caused the collapse of one lane on Gardner Road in Mercer County. The road runs from the Athens exit of I-77 (Exit 14) to the interchange with US 19 and parallels the Bluestone River. Over the weekend of Aug. 9, 2014, high water in the river, combined with the saturation of the ground caused one lane of the two lane road to give way.
Thomas Camden, District 10 Manager for West Virginia Division of Highways, said that the state is ready to get repairs under way, but they have to get permission to begin work since the area is environmentally sensitive, because there are mussels in the river. Officials with District 10 of the WVDOH said they are hoping to get emergency approval to do the work. Carrie Bly with the West Virginia Department of Transportation confirmed that the process of getting environmental clearance has begun.
The plan, according to Bly, is to install a pipe to relieve some of the water pressure from the opposite side of the road. Crews would then build up the shoulder with rock, replace the guardrail and repave the section of road that collapsed.
The road is a main artery for school buses taking students to PikeView High School and PikeView Middle School. Mercer County Schools Transportation Director, Fred Scott, went to the site on Sunday to make sure it was safe. He says that after speaking with the WVDOH, the road is safe for buses to travel on. However, Scott also said that he will keep an eye on damaged area until the repairs can be completed. Scott also requested that the WVDOH clear brush from the side of the roadway, so that bus drivers have 100-percent visibility when traveling through the area.
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