Dickenson County

Washed-out bridge leaves people stuck at home

Flooded bridge

DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. - Monday's heavy rain is leaving some people in Southwest Virginia without a way to leave their home.

A bridge is what separates some people's homes and their ability to get out. "It's the only means of going in and out with an automobile. There's no other way out," says concerned resident Darlene Deel.

Deel is one of five people that live on the other side of the bridge. After Monday's storms, Deel's neighbor Bill King tells us it's almost impossible for anyone to get out. "We've got to get some help some way. We're both disabled," adds King.

The only way to cross the bridge now is to fight through the debris step by step. King tells us it's difficult for him and his neighbors to do. "There are 14 boards missing from it. The rest of them are all spread out and shifted down the creek. Some of them are stuck in the trees down there," says King.

For these neighbors, the washed-out bridge means no medicine delivery and a fight across the bridge to get their mail. They're wondering who to look to for help. "[Road] supervisors say it's going to come out of our pockets, but we can't do that. That's why we pay taxes for," adds King.

We did some research and after talking with Dickenson County, Buchanan County, and VDOT, we learned the repairs for the bridge will have to come from people like King; that's because the bridge is considered private property because it's a part of their driveway.

"We don't get enough money. We live on a pension, all three of us down here, and it takes everything we've got to just live. We've got doctor bills and hospital bills," says King.

Michelle Earl with VDOT tells us anyone going through what these people are should ask inspection companies for help. "They could give them advice on how to properly maintain what the proper bridge width and weights are," says Earl.

Meanwhile, the residents tell us they are hoping someone can help them repair the bridge.

We've also learned five people rely on this bridge to get to and from home. Back in May, the residents had to replace several boards after flooding washed them away.

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