Jimmy Davidson


Rocky Gap was a pretty busy place. The tunnel people got all their fuel from North Gap Service station, Bill Lambert was running it then. And course the workers were coming down to the Lamberts’ store and on down to Carroll’s store to buy this and that. It helped the economy around here a whole lot. I got some of the structural steel that was used for the construction and some other material when they closed up. They had a--it was a joint effort, Virginia and West Virginia,--and they had a target up on top of East River Mountain directly over the top of the middle of the tunnel. And they could look at it with their transits from both sides to keep the people in the tunnel in line so that whenever they got there they was going to match. And the bears kept tearing that sign down. And they finally found out, and I don’t know from whom, that there was some kind of material they could spray on that target that was sickening to bears. So they make a regular trip up there and spray that sign to keep the bears from tearing their sign down. And it’s a given fact that this whole country over here is on what they call the Singafare Fault, and caves everywhere, kind of like a honeycomb, and they came in there to work one Monday morning, and a whole lot of the tunnel had gone down about eighteen inches since they closed up on Friday. So they started bringing concrete in there several loads from somewhere in Tennessee. It’s just a slurry type of concrete, kind of just like heavy water, and just poured it in the whole up there and just letting it run. I guess some of it run all the way into Kentucky before it finally just backed itself up and stabilized where they were working. That was the main problem they had was that cavernous type straddles they were building on. I think it took about three years. Two companies, Langonfelder and Raymond, were the prime contractors. And I guess most of the upper estate and motels in Bluefield, I don’t believe any on border in Rocky Gap. But a whole lot of laborers around Rocky Gap worked on the tunnel. It was high pay because it was under the jurisdiction of West Virginia, and they had labor unions, paid union wages, which is been much more than if it’d been run out of Virginia, half out of West Virginia. Over here this other little tunnel is completely in Virginia. As a matter of fact, it’s completely in Bland County.