WSAZ Investigates | Road Repaired

More than a year after our initial investigation aired, a road slip in Wayne County, West Virginia, has finally been repaired.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - In an update to our investigation about a road slipping and crumbling so badly it had to be closed, leaving neighbors desperate for answers on a fix and turning to WSAZ, we went out to see the slip firsthand and started asking questions.

Neighbors, including Terry Sutton, say our efforts made all the difference along Plymale Branch Road in Wayne County.

In a drive that’s supposed to be smooth and safe, Sutton says it has been anything but.

“I’ve never lived on one where a football field away from where I live is totally collapsed,” Sutton said.

We first introduced you to Sutton in April of last year after his neighbors reached out -- concerned about Plymale Branch Road.

“This is a safety issue here, and I would like to see that taken care of in whatever manner it takes to get it done,” he said.

That’s when WSAZ’s Marlee Pinchok got to work -- reaching out to the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

A spokesperson sent an email saying in part, “citizens who have questions about where specific roads fall on scheduled work can visit our website”

So, Pinchok logged onto the website to find out more about Plymale Branch. But when she went to the website, the map showed the road was only scheduled for patching and said “completed.”

Pinchok subsequently hopped in the car and headed out to Plymale Branch to see if the work was complete and to show Sutton the website.

During her drive, she noticed numerous spots have been patched.

But she eventually had to pump the brakes when she got to the spot neighbors were telling her about. And that’s when she went to talk with Sutton about what she found on the map and showed him the website.

“It says patching. Patching, ha!” Sutton said. “This website is not giving us any information, other than that they’re doing paving which is not going to help the slip ... Aah, it definitely causes confusion, but it’s frustrating too. It’s like well, what’s going on ... I just can’t believe they put up a sign that says ‘road closed’ that you would say that it’s completed … if the road closed sign is still up then it’s not completed.”

After meeting with Sutton, Pinchok took his concerns to the DOT. She asked them why Plymale Branch Road is only showing up as “patching” and says “completed” on the interactive road map.

She also asked when is work planned to get underway for that blocked off portion of road? A spokesperson responded in part saying: the map reflects scheduled on-the-ground work.

For the slide on Plymale Branch, we are finalizing the design, but we do not yet have a schedule for when the onsite work will begin. When the work is scheduled, it will be added to the website.

Pinchok found that work was eventually added to the website. It was expected to begin last June, and Sutton says this spring that crews really got to work.

Fast forward to now and that massive road slip that was the cause of concern for months is no more. Neighbors are finally feeling safe again -- driving to and from home.

“It’s a smooth drive,” Sutton said -- a smooth drive he and others have been waiting for more than a year.

“It was a severe landslide here, and it took out the road,” he said. “I mean, it took out this whole stretch right through here. It was just good that you came out here, got the story out, put more pressure on them. It took a long time but they finally got it done.”

He went on to say, “We’re safer now, the neighborhood is safer … It’s only a small stretch, but it’s big for everyone around here.”