CALDWELL, (WVDN) – Anyone who travels through the Caldwell area is likely familiar with the Caldwell tunnel, a single-lane road with train tracks overhead. Over time, any structure sustains damage, but citizens are concerned after the tunnel was recently closed due to flooding.
Citizen Mary Patton and her husband were traveling through the area shortly after the flooding and noticed a chunk of concrete had fallen out of the wall. Patton said she is unsure how long the damage has been there, but she and her husband noted the fallen concrete on Sunday, Feb. 19, while driving through.
The Pattons took some photos of areas they felt were the worst. Afterward, they posted the pictures to Facebook. The photos garnered a plethora of responses from other citizens.
“On social media, there have been over 150 shares and many personal responses showing overwhelming public concern,” Patton said. “Many people have been in agreement that something needs to be done; (the tunnel needs to be) condemned or shut down for repairs.”
While Patton noted that she is a concerned citizen and not an engineer, she feels the tunnel is “completely unsafe.”
She went on to say, “I understand that every day, a Greenbrier County school bus passes through this tunnel with kids on board. I am concerned that the vibrations from daily train traffic over the tunnel could result in a catastrophic event.”
A representative from CSX looked into the situation and noted, that because no tracks are running through the tunnel, upkeep falls to a road authority. In this case, that authority is the West Virginia Division of Highways.
Jennifer Dooley from the WVDOT Public Relations Division spoke to the District 9 engineer Jim Moore. According to Dooley, a bridge inspection crew is currently evaluating the tunnel and will schedule work for any “immediate needs.”
More information will be available after the inspection is complete. The West Virginia Daily News will provide updates as they become available.