Thursday, August 15, 2013

New US48 Highway project in highland areas of WVa simulates "mountaintop removal"

Today, I made a pilgrimage to Dolly Sods, the “little Mount Washington” in NE West Virginia, precariously near some older strip mining along W VA 93 which I had “trespassed” on (almost getting arrested in July 1971, mentioned early in Chapter 3 of my first DADT book). 

The SE approach from Jordan Run road was in pretty good shape, but the FR 75 on the north side seems heavily damaged from torrential rains or from Sandy, and isn’t very passable without a 4-wheel drive.

You probably don't want to do that stretch alone if you aren't very good at practical mechanics and roadside car repairs. The area is remote.

Dolly Sods (elevation 2850 to 4700) is not as high as some other areas and is as far south as Washington DC but has a severe climate because or Bernoulli effect and wind exposure.

But what caught my attention was the heavy construction of the new US 48 along old Route 93 between the Dominion Power Plant at Mt. Storm and Davis-Thomas.   Some of the old strip mining is pretty well reclaimed, but there are new cuts, one about 70 feet deep, with an accumulation of coal slag.Picture taking from the car was not possible; there were no pulloff areas. 

I’m not sure if this is due to mining or just the highway.   Wikipedia describes the effort here
There are still plenty of coal company signs along Rt 93 (to become 48), and I don’t know if there are plans for more radical mining in the area.

There’s a landfill near Thomas that is rather startling.

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