By CALVIN PYNN
Wythe County officials have decided open US-21 in Wytheville to both northbound and southbound traffic as debris is still being cleaned up after a train ran off the tracks there earlier this week.
According to Wythe County spokesperson Jeremy Farley, a portion of Grayson Road on US-21 will remain a single lane while road crews work to remove the debris and wreckage from the scene. Flaggers will direct drivers as the cleanup efforts take place during the day, and will alternate traffic flow.
The clean-up process is expected to take several days, Farley said. Drivers have been warned to expect delays along that route.
Wytheville officials said that they expect both lanes to be open to the public during nighttime hours.
Grayson Road was closed earlier this week during the clean-up efforts to clear the road of the Norfolk Southern train wreckage. Traffic between Speedwell and Wytheville was diverted to Winding Road and Old Sage Road.
Grayson Road and W. Railroad Avenue were also closed earlier this week while the area was cleaned up.
The decision to handle traffic flow as the wreckage is being cleared was discussed at a meeting between Town of Wytheville and Wythe County officials, along with Norfolk Southern crews and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) personnel. The work involves moving several pieces of heavy equipment, as well as transporting wrecked cargo away from the scene, according to Farley.
The Norfolk Southern train, which was towing 33 cars, derailed just after 6 p.m. on Monday, July 14. The wreck sent 14 cars carrying automobiles and nail polish off the track.
Local emergency officials at the scene reported no injuries or environmental threats from the wreck. Possible causes for the crash have also yet to be determined.