Highway 119 reopens in Harlan County

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

A rock slide closed a portion of U.S. Highway 119 in Harlan County back in February. It was only supposed to be closed for a few weeks, but the project faced a few holdups. The road was reopened Wednesday.

People living in Coldiron are used to the coal trucks.

"We've been hearing more noises, more than what we're used to hearing," said John Saylor, a Coldiron resident.

In the past weeks those trucks have been using smaller roads since Highway 119 has been shut down.

"It really created a bottleneck. It really did, especially moving heavy machinery, the traffic had to be stopped," said Johnny Baker, a Coldiron resident.

The highway opened Wednesday. It was closed because of a rock slide in early February. You may remember the force of the slide knocked out water to about 200 homes in that part of Harlan County.

"The saying goes - you don't miss water until the well goes dry. It was an inconvenience," said Baker.

The water was quickly restored, but the highway remained shut down. That forced all traffic to smaller roads.

Folks are now concerned about the condition of some of those roads, that have been forced to handle such heavy traffic.

"It will take a few days to get back to normal," said Saylor.

"It was kind of dangerous for a while, but I am glad to see the road back open again," said Saylor.

Highway Department officials tell us they believe they cut enough rock off the side of the cliff to prevent another slide.

They said any repair work that needs to be done on those side roads would take place during the spring and summer months.

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