GILES COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The New River has settled down, and the sky is finally clear over Giles County, but the rains and floods over the week have left portions of U.S. Route 460 impassable.
“It’s one of the main roads in this county,” said long-time Giles County resident Robin Graham.
Graham has lived in Pearisburg her whole life and says she had never seen rains and floods we saw over the past week.
“You know, the water does get high, once in a while,” Graham said. “We do have flooding… but nothing like it was this time.”
Heavy rains caused a mudslide on Route 460 in Giles County, just a few miles from the West Virginia border. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) says the highway suffered multiple collapses and a damaged retaining wall, a big loss for county residents like Graham.
“We depend on it very much. To get to Rich Creek, which is one of the pharmacies I use, I’m going to have to go all the way around every time I need something from the pharmacy.”
The detour, according to Graham, adds about 25 minutes to her commute from Pearisburg to Peterstown, just across the river.
“It’s round and about and, you know, it’s a two-land road where you have to travel. Speeds are 30-35 miles per hour, instead of 55 miles per hour.”
Those outside the county have it much worse, according to VDOT’s website.
“Virginia motorists traveling to West Virginia from Roanoke, Blacksburg and other locations east of the West Virginia border will need to take Interstate 81 to Wytheville and detour onto northbound Interstate 77.The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
West Virginia drivers traveling east into Virginia will need to use southbound Interstate 77 as an alternative route around the Route 460 closure.”
While VDOT’s 511 traffic map says motorists can expect potential delays along Route 460 from Route 61 to Gentrys Lane, Riverside Drive, and Route 712 — where all eastbound and westbound lanes are currently closed — until June 6 due to maintenance activities, officials have not set an exact timeline on when Route 460 will be back open.
However, Graham is confident VDOT will get the job done: “It’s a very big inconvenience, but, you know, what else can you do. You just follow the direction, and go with it. I have all the trust in my men.”
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