A road used by Virginia residents to reach Mount Airy has been closed indefinitely due to an “unusual” situation in which a hump has appeared in the pavement and created a safety hazard.
The problem affects Willis Gap Mountain Road, which is now shut down from Route 608 (Boundary Road) to Route 677 (Orchard View Drive). While homes in the area can be reached from either side of the blockage, a detour has been announced for motorists wanting to reach the other end during the closure.
It is blamed on a malfunctioning pipe running underneath the roadway, which rose about 18 inches on one end and caused the hump that was dangerous for motorists.
“That’s why we took the measure to close the road until we can get this corrected,” Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Resident Engineer Lisa Hughes said earlier this week.
The pipe failure occurred in an area along Willis Gap Mountain Road where a slope-stabilization project was completed in 2014.
Normally, crews could just dig up the pipe and do a re-laying job, but the situation there is somewhat complicated, according to Hughes, who oversees state road needs in Patrick County.
“It is pretty unusual,” Hughes said this week. “But the best we can tell, the slope continued to slide, and it all kind of performed as one unit,” which involved the pipe being elevated along with other fixtures in the ground.
“It just lifted up everything,” the resident engineer said of the dynamics involved.
Steel rods were installed to stabilize the slope in 2014, which were placed underneath the pipe — thus requiring the rods to be cut through in order for crews to be…
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