Creston Drive Repair Update
At the time of the original major slide on Creston Drive just beyond the Tanager Lane, a Duke Power cable that had been buried on the downhill side of Creston Drive and which fed homes between there and Galax was severed and those homes lost power. Homes beyond Galax did not. Duke informed us then that there was a parallel cable on the uphill side of Creston Drive and that the two cables comprised a 'loop' designed to survive the loss of either leg. Presumably, the homes that lost power were fed by the destroyed cable and the others were fed by the cable on the uphill side. That was why those homes beyond Galax did not lose power at the time and why service to those that did was restored so quickly (by ‘back-feeding’ them from the surviving cable). We had a cable locator on site last summer who confirmed that in fact there was a power cable on the up hill side of Creston and marked it as such with red paint.
The presence of a live cable under the uphill shoulder was the reason why that side of the roadway could not be lowered to the same, new level of the roadway behind the Great Wall until Duke could install a replacement cable on the downhill side. Once done, the uphill cable would be de-energized and dug up. Duke, in turn, could not install a new cable until the wall was complete. Therefore, Creston Drive at the site has been only one lane wide since the failure in May.
Once the wall was finished in October, Duke was asked to install the new cable but it was several weeks before they arrived to lay it and another few weeks to hook it up. At that time a Duke engineer corrected the information that Duke representatives had provided earlier; there was not, in fact, a parallel cable under the uphill side of the road. Rather, the 'loop' consisted of the cable that was destroyed by the slide which ran all the way to the top of the mountain and then back downhill via what is now the Tip Top Trail that extends from the Community Center to Ninebark Lane. That may well be how that trail got created in the first place. To make doubly certain, a different locator come out last week and he confirmed that, indeed, there was no power cable on the uphill side. Had we been given the correct information by Duke at the beginning, Creston Drive could have been restored to two-lane width as soon as the wall was complete. We might also have been able to get the road re-paved before the asphalt plants shut down for the winter.
The good news is that the widening of the roadway from one-lane back to two-lane at that site is now underway. The first step, hopefully to be completed today, is to add one more row of Ready Rock on the section of the wall closest to Tanager Lane. By raising the wall a bit more there, the roadway can be given a greater slope - tilt - toward the uphill site, adding additional safety for vehicles and insuring that drainage, even in very heavy rain, will occur only via the ditch line, catch basins and culverts on that side. This will greatly minimize the potential for any future erosion.