Harlan County District 2 Magistrate Bill Moore advised a slide on KY 38 in the Evarts city limits at Draper on Monday caused delays when rock and other debris fell from the cliffs in that area blocking the roadway. He said state officials were contacted and engineers will assess the situation today.
“Mayor Eddie Manning and I have been working together trying to get help with KY 38, not only in the slide area, but other parts of the Clover Fork area,” said Moore. “The engineers will be at the slide area on Wednesday to look and see what they can do to keep more slides from occurring in that particular area.”
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Public Information Officer Jonathan Dobson, in Manchester, said there was a slide on KY 38 at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, which was cleared by state crews with shovels after a few rocks fell onto the roadway.
“This was a minor slide and the roadway was not closed but for a short period of time,” said Dobson. “There was a similar one on U.S. 119 near the Bell County line and another minor slide on KY 3001 at Lenarue on Tuesday morning. We contribute this to ice melting — loosening things up. We’re glad to see the warm up certainly, but these slides seem to come with it sometimes.”
Moore said just a few weeks ago there was a major slide, which blocked the roadway for several hours at Draper. He said the slide, which occurred on Monday was in the same area.
“The slide on Monday blocked the road with rocks and mud, but what I’m worried about is there is a real big tree — 60 to 80 feet tall, which will probably be coming off with the next slide,” said Moore. “This is very dangerous situation right now for anyone driving on KY 38 in that area. We also have potential slides on KY 38 going to Dartmont, Colts — all the way to the Virginia line.”
Moore said he is planning a meeting with Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop and Harlan County Emergency Management Director David McGill in the near future to compile a plan, which will be presented to state officials on KY 38 in the Clover Fork area. He said state representatives Rick Nelson and Fitz Steele have been “very helpful” in contacting the correct state officials to assess the situation.
“I am worried for our citizens on Clover Fork,” said Moore. “I’ll keep working in any way I can to get the help we need. I’ll be attending a meeting in Frankfort on the Feb. 18, 19 and 20, at which time I plan to hand deliver photos of the cliff overhangs, rocks, trees and slides, which have occurred recently on KY 38, to anyone I think will be able to help us secure money to correct these problems.”
Manning said the last traffic count data he received for the city showed an average of 6,300 vehicles per day traveled from the Harlan area coming into Evarts on KY 38.
“If you break that down that means there is one car every 13 seconds traveling past that slide area at Draper,” said Manning. “If you think something bad can’t happen think about these numbers. The risk is real. When this roadway is blocked you have emergency personnel trapped sometimes up to 45 minutes or an hour. This could be a situation of life and death.”
Manning said he will be mailing a formal request to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet today requesting permission to use city equipment until state officials are able to arrive on the scene if another slide occurs.
“They get there as soon as possible coming from Dayhoit, but we can be on the scene in five or 10 minutes, clearing one lane for emergency vehicles to pass through,” said Manning. “A lot of people don’t care to be stuck for a few minutes, but an ambulance needs to get through immediately.”
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