Some residents in the Dayhoit area were without electricity, TV and Internet for a period of time on Thursday after a large mudslide occurred on KY 3451, knocking down electrical poles and blocking the road.
Carl Hays, environmental inspector with the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) from Hazard, was at the site of the slide on Friday after being called to conduct an investigation.
“It’s a combination of earth, rocks, trees and all the other vegetative cover,” said Hays. “Our agency has been aware of this for a time and a contract to correct the problem is pending.”
Hays said this is “a significant slide,” adding they are looking at moving approximately 60,000 yards of material.
“It’s about 400-feet wide and covers approximately three to four acres,” said Hays. “It has been determined there is some association with old mining disturbances from what I understand. That’s the foundation for why AML can become involved. Again, there is a contract pending. We anticipate our agency will be doing some corrective work on this in the near future — more than likely in the next four to five weeks. It depends on management’s final decision and how soon they can expedite approval for us to start.”
Resident Sandy McKnight lives across from the slide. She said this was the second slide to occur within the last few days.
“The first one was a big tree came down on Thursday at about 10 a.m. and knocked the electricity off for about eight hours,” said McKnight. “As soon as the electric company got some new poles up, a second slide occurred about 6 p.m.”
McKnight said she and her son rode four-wheelers to the top of the mountain and observed a much larger area, which she says looks like it is “coming down also.”
“You can sit here at night and hear the rock and trees moving,” said McKnight. “It reaches further on down the road and you can see the trees are already leaning.”
With the roadway being blocked, McKnight said she has allowed the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to detour traffic through her yard.
“They took some of my fence down to allow people to get to their homes above us,” said McKnight. “There are approximately 50 people, some elderly, who live above the slide area. It’s a small wonder someone was not injured when all of this came down. Children ride their bicycles and play up and down this road all the time, especially now that summer is here and children are out of school. We have been asking for something to be done about this for as long as a year. Every time it rains, we have trees falling and earth moving.”
McKnight said the “whole area is unstable.”
“I just hope they take care of all of it instead of just removing this part that is now covering the road,” said McKnight. “This is a grave danger to our community. It seems like everyone is just passing the buck. We’ve had other mudslides, but this one is just larger than the ones we’ve had in the past. The weather forecast is for more rain in the next few days, who knows what will come off next.”
Magistrate Delbert Stephens said he had received numerous complaints from residents as far back as the winter of 2012.
“During the winter of 2012, I went to a slide in the same area,” said Stephens. “I contacted Emergency Management Director David McGill and he and I then contacted Abandoned Mine Lands. They came down to the slide and the county took them on four-wheelers to the top of the mountain to the break.”
Stephens said since that time, he has talked with AML several times and they told him they planned to correct the problem.
“In the meantime, we still have the problem and it’s getting worse,” said Stephens. “Because of so much debris in the creek, it has caused the water to reroute into a resident’s yard below the slide, eroding their property. We can’t even get permission to clean the creek out for them.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, firstname.lastname@example.org