RITA — The causeway over the Guyandotte River, built as a temporary bridge to provide Madison Creek residents with an alternate access to their homes, is now open.
The W.Va. Department of Transportation has been working on the causeway for the past several weeks, after a major slide blocked the original access road and required the evacuation of some residents, who stayed at hotels and drove rental cars until the road was cleared. Slides and periods of isolation for the residents has been an ongoing problem since early in the summer of 2013.
W.Va. Senators Art Kirkendoll and Ron Stollings and W.Va. Delegates Rupert “Rupie” Phillips and Ted Tomblin have all been working with the highway department and construction company to get the situation resolved and get relief for the Madison Creek residents.
W.Va. State Senator Ron Stollings said he was glad to see the causeway open.
“I’m glad to have two options in case of more slides. I hope the residents will remain patient as work on W.Va. Route 10 progresses since it is a major artery in southern West Virginia. I also urge everyone to be careful driving during this blast of winter.”
Ted Tomblin, W.Va. Delegate, added, “I’m tickled for those people over there. I’m sorry it took as long as it did. Everybody worked together to get this situation resolved. These people have been through a lot. I don’t know how they feel, but I can sense the hardship it has caused.”
Resident Linda Wilson says there have been comments from residents living near the causeway who are not happy about the traffic and potential problems.
“Every neighborhood has their problems and this is not a permanent situation. I am glad to have this bridge.”
The original access road is very narrow and winds along the river with rocks just inches from the road on one side and a drop to the river in in some places on the other side. Residents are being encouraged to use the causeway as their primary access.
Wilson went on to express concern about the ongoing construction.
“Now they are working directly behind my and my daughter’s house and I worry that we will have slides that will come in on our homes. It’s terrifying.”
The residents are waiting to hear from the highway department about the possibility of a voluntary buy out.
Currently about a third of the W.Va. Route 10 construction is complete from Rita to Man. The four-lane highway from Logan to Man will have an approximate length of 12.5 miles and had an estimated total cost in 2002 of $396.9 million.