The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 17, 2014

Pleasant Valley Road ‘capped’ with asphalt

‘Classic case’ of mine subsidence

PLEASANT VALLEY — A road that had collapsed due to an old mine shaft has been “capped” with asphalt.

County Route 64, locally known as Pleasant Valley Road, collapsed into a a mine shaft about four weeks ago. The collapsed section was near the Marion County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management building.

The first step in the process of repairing a road that is damaged by mine subsidence is for the Division of Highways to notify the state Department of Environmental Protection. According to Division of Highways District Four manager Ray Urse, the DEP has maps of where mining had occurred previously.

“(The DEP) can look on that map instantly and tell instantly if there is potential for (subsidence),” Urse said. “Route 64 in Marion County was a classic case of that.”

According to Urse, the map showed the DEP officials that there was a mine in the location of Pleasant Valley Road. The DEP evaluated the subsidence.

The hole, according to workers on scene after the road collapsed, was about 20 feet deep.

DEP officials contact contractors who bid for the job and are given a timetable to complete filling in the mine shaft.

According to Urse, the contractors filled the shaft with large and then small limestone rocks from the bottom to the top of the mine shaft.

“Had we put asphalt in it immediately on top, there would have been a settlement in the road,” Urse said.

Vehicles driving over the rocks were compacting the smaller rocks and, according to Urse, creating a foundation for the new layer of asphalt.

“We laid asphalt without the fear of it subsiding anymore,” he said.

Urse said the project was a cooperation between the DOH and the DEP Abandoned Mine Lands office, which is often utilized by District Four.

The project required a longer timetable because of the depth of the hole and the need to use rocks to fill the mine shaft, said Urse. A smaller sinkhole would take one day to fill with concrete and patch with hot mix.

The road collapsing into the mine shaft was not necessarily due to weather.

“It’s just an anomaly. It exists where mining activity was in the past. Obviously, there has been potential for that to exist for decades,” Urse said. “I wouldn’t say weather is not a factor. I’ve seen them in the hottest months of the year, and I’ve seen them in the coldest. There isn't a pattern.”

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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