Highway workers and a contractor will work around the clock to reopen a Leslie County road that is blocked by a massive rock slide, a state Transportation Cabinet spokesman said Monday.
Local officials hoped to set up a temporary water line by late Monday to restore service for an estimated 30 to 35 homes that were left dry because the slide wiped out a section of line, said James Couch, the county emergency-management director.
Some of the rocks blocking the road are as big as small houses and might have to be blasted apart, Couch said.
"It's the biggest I've ever seen," he said.
The slide covered a section of Ky. 2009 early Saturday in the Hoskinston community, blocking access to U.S. 421. The rock and dirt cover a section of the road 50 to 75 yards wide, Couch said.
Highway crews and a contractor have set up lights and will work 24 hours a day, said Jonathan Dobson, a Transportation Cabinet spokesman.
The county has had a lot of rain this year, and that might have played a role in the slide, Couch said.
There has been surface mining in the area for years, but Couch and County Attorney Phillip Lewis, who lives nearby, said that did not cause the slide.
Couch said firefighters delivered bottled water to elderly people over the weekend and have set a distribution point at the Stinnett Volunteer Fire Department for people to pick up water.
The county has arranged with an ambulance service in Harlan County to make emergency runs if necessary.
The slide has been a major inconvenience, requiring residents to backtrack into Harlan County to reach U.S. 421 to get to Hyden.
Lewis said his normal drive of a few minutes to Hyden took about an hour and 45 minutes Monday. But that's not as bad as the loss of water service, he said.
"I can handle driving around better than I can handle being without water," he said.