DOH: Boulder-Catching Net To Be Repaired Along W.Va. 2

In response to a tragic 2005 accident that resulted in a man’s death, the West Virginia Division of Highways installed a steel mesh barrier to prevent rockslide boulders from falling onto The Narrows portion of W.Va. 2.

However, after nearly a decade of wear and tear, sections of the fence are in need of repair. Carrie Bly, spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Transportation, which oversees the DOH, said the agency hopes to complete the repairs this year.

“We are now just doing so much pothole patching. But it is on our list to repair this year,” she said.

In March, police and emergency officials responds to a rockslide in The Narrows when a boulder fell down the hill, landing against the fence. Related debris fell onto five northbound vehicles. Although a few of the vehicles sustained minor damage, there were no injuries.

In addition to the portion of the barrier damaged from this rockslide, there are other sections of the fence that have leaning poles. However, Bly said the structure remains viable.

“The poles may look bent, but it is reinforced,” she said.

Bly said the division’s heavy maintenance crews are in the midst of several elaborate road paving projects. She also said the DOH does not have the replacement parts for the barrier on hand, as they require special manufacturing.

“It will probably start in July or August,” she said of the work on the net.

Herman C. Werfele died from the injuries he received after a rockslide covered the northbound lanes of W.Va. 2 near Glen Dale on March 24, 2005. This caused him to swerve into oncoming traffic, resulting a collision that ended his life.

The DOH built the steel mesh barrier shortly thereafter, while constructing a sign commemorating Werfele.

There is a similar steel barrier along W.Va. 2 in southern Marshall County near the American Electric Power Kammer and Mitchell plants. This also shows some signs of damage, but Bly did not know if the DOH planned any repairs for it.