Residents concerned about slides

Nola Sizemore Staff Writer

October 8, 2013

A hazard to motorists traveling KY 2008 at Big Laurel, residents are having to deal daily with mud, trees and rocks falling from two major slides in the area.

The sentiment of most residents in the area was that of frustration with some saying, “the slides have been ongoing for the past two or more years.”

“Every time it rains, mud, rock and trees come down onto the roadway and all we get is someone coming by and scrapping it off the road just enough to get by if that,” said Big Laurel resident Maxine Turner, who lives directly across from the slide area. This is a very dangerous situation. At any time all that dirt could break lose and come down onto a vehicle passing by or a school bus transporting children to and from school.”

Turner said sometimes both lanes are covered with debris and traffic is stopped, blocking residents in, until a lane can be cleared.

Rev. Eugene Harris, pastor of Harris Memorial Chapel in Big Laurel, said the break contributing to the slides is high on the mountain and the earth continues to move every day, creating a hazard.

“When it comes a real heavy rain, water runs off the mountain and brings everything else with it. This slide area is right at a curve in the roadway and dangerous to anyone traveling in the area. Someone needs to come in and clean this up from the top,” said Harris.

Approximately one mile from the Leslie/Harlan County line, several residents said their opinion on this situation is “the state is going to wait until a big rock, tree or mudslide kills someone before they come in and take care of this situation.”

“There’s enough mud and dirt coming off that it could push a vehicle right into the creek, killing them,” said Turner. “The school buses travel this roadway every day and, if the slide is covering one lane, someone could be trying to avoid it and hit another vehicle head on because it’s in a curve.”

“I’m a good Democrat and I’ll remember this at election time. I have a big family over here and we all vote. We want these slides cleaned up.”

After contacting Les Dixon, public affairs officer with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 11, Division of Right-of-way and Utilities, he responded to the complaint by saying, “Currently we have three different routes that have slides. The slide on Ky 840 has been repaired and we are currently repairing slides on KY 179. Once we finish that, we will move to KY 2008. Weather is playing a major part in how fast we can get finished.”

Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, nsizemore@civitasmedia.com