Sandy Myers 540-332-9201
Cellular: (540) 292-2500
Ken Slack 540-332-9264
Cellular: (540) 414-5670

April 23, 2009


STAUNTON – The Virginia Department of Transportation is implementing repairs to the slope failure on Route 39 in Rockbridge County. Route 39 is closed from Route 252 to Route 729.

The slide took place on April 20 and is located .5 mile west of Route 252. Heavy rain occurred on the morning of April 20 in the area of the slide.

The repairs will be done in two phases. Phase one will begin on Friday, April 24 and will continue through the weekend. Crews from contractor Soil Nail Launcher Inc. of Fruita, Colo., will be working on the top part of the road embankment. The contractor will drill holes under the road and drive steel into these holes under the road. The steel, which is referred to as nails, will knit the soil together. The nails will extend about a foot out from the soil.

A wire mesh will be hung from the nails, extending down the slope approximately 15 feet from the road bed. This wire mesh will be used as reinforcement for a shotcrete concrete wall which will be constructed parallel to the roadway.

VDOT Staunton District Materials Engineer Chaz Weaver, P.E., said, “Shotcrete is lean concrete sprayed through a hose at a high velocity onto a surface, which allows placement of the substance in hard-to-reach areas. Essentially a wall of concrete will be built on this slope to help stabilize the area where the road sits.”

Several days after the wall is built phase two of the repairs will begin using a separate contractor. The operations will include removal of mud and debris and then construction of a rock buttress to assist with the slope’s long-term stability. VDOT will be awarding a contract for this work in the near future.

Weaver estimates all the repairs to cost $330,000. This figure is subject to change as the work progresses.

Phase-one work is estimated to last 10 days and phase-two work could take approximately four weeks. All work is weather permitting.

While Route 39 is closed motorists can use a detour set up by VDOT. Tractor trailer trucks should take Interstate 64 to exit 43 at Route 780 (Brattons Run). Take Route 780 to Route 39.

Local automobile traffic should use the following detour:

Westbound Route 39 traffic should take:
Route 39 turn right onto Route 252 (Brownsburg Turnpike)
Route 252 turn left onto Route 712 (Bustleburg Road)
Route 712 turn left onto Route 729 (Back Draft Road)
Route 729 turn right onto Route 39

Eastbound Route 39 traffic should take:
Route 39 turn left onto Route 729
Route 729 turn right onto Route 712
Route 712 turn right onto Route 252
Route 252 turn left onto Route 39.

The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. In areas where 511 is unavailable, dial 1-866-MY511VA (866-695-1182) (TTY/TDD users, call 711). Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at

Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility. Virginia’s highway safety partnership — the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia State Police — challenges you to help prevent highway fatalities. Buckle up. Avoid distractions. Share the road. Drive drug- and alcohol-free. Obey speed limits. For more information on the Highway Safety Challenge and things you can do to avoid becoming Virginia’s next traffic fatality, visit


Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012