Road closures could last weeks after heavy rain washes out major roadways

‘It’s going to make it tough for people that have to go to work’

GILES COUNTY, Va. – Dangerous mudslides and flooding ruined roads all over the southwest Virginia over the past few days, forcing roads to close for the repairs. However, the cost and the timeline for the repairs are unknown.

Drivers like Charles Angell hit a major detour on his drive from West Virginia to Giles County on Tuesday due to a road closure. Route 460 is closed in both directions after a landslide washed away the road.

“It’s going to make it tough for people that have to go to work and what have you. There’s a couple different ways I can go, it just takes me longer,” said Angell.

VDOT spokesperson Jason Bond said there are several long-term closures due to damage, including on Route 116 in Franklin County, Route 640 and Route 57 in Bassett.

“It’s going to be a lengthy process for many of these roads. There’s a lot of material that has slid from locations. We are working to get those repairs scheduled and completed as quickly as we can, but we do appreciate people’s patience as we do expect that these roads will be closed for several weeks,” said Bond.

Crews will have to stabilize the roads by excavating wet dirt and debris, reconstruct the road bed by filling it with stones dirt, and other material before repaving and painting lines.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was also forced to close in several spots in Roanoke, including a section near Mile Post 128, which completely washed away.

The National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration will assess the damage and determine what repairs are needed. That repair schedule is unknown.

Bond added that more rain could cause more damage and lead to repair delays.

“We will certainly have to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws our way in the days ahead and the ground is so saturated that any flash flooding is likely to cause more damage,” said Bond.

Angell said anyone planning to hit the highway needs to be on the lookout.

“You never know, especially that river road over there, tomorrow it might not be open,” said Angell. "So you’ve got to keep an eye on it.”

Detours and closures can by found by checking out VDOT’s social media accounts, 511, or by looking at the Parkway’s Real Time Road Map.

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