PennDOT sets aggressive schedule to repair landslide-damaged Route 30

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Updated May 2, 2018
This section of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh collapsed April 7, damaging an apartment building and houses.This section of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh collapsed April 7, damaging an apartment building and houses.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says it has established an “extremely aggressive” timetable for rebuilding a section of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh that collapsed this month, damaging a house and apartment building.

The collapse occurred due to a 250-foot-wide landslide that damaged a house and apartment building. Residents in the area have been temporarily displaced, and 10 residents will need permanent replacement housing.

PennDOT says a 400-foot-long, 20-foot-high wall will be built to stabilize the hillside. The wall must be completed before residents can return to the area. That will likely take about two months. The state is paying to house and feed displaced residents and will pay for permanent housing for those whose homes were destroyed. There were no injuries from the incident.

PennDOT officials estimate the entire project will be completed by the end of June or mid-July, which is as fast as possible, they say.

An on-call contractor has been clearing the site of debris and has removed about 250 truckloads as of April 17. Another 500 truckloads of debris will have to be removed, PennDOT officials said during an April 17 press conference.

The agency has been working with nearby steel mills to try to procure steel for the wall. The wall will be an “anchored soldier pile lagging wall.” The wall is constructed by drilling holes and putting in steel beams, and then precast concrete slabs are placed between the beams. A rock backfill will be moved in behind the wall, and rock anchors with tension cables will be installed.

PennDOT officials said the wall was designed and the project ready for bidding within 10 days. The agency received emergency permission from the governor and state transportation secretary to expedite right-of-way clearances, utility clearances and other procedures. A $6.5 million contract was awarded April 20 to Golden Triangle Construction of North Fayette, Pennsylvania.

After the wall is built, road construction will occur. It should take less than two weeks, PennDOT officials said.

PennDOT does not know yet what the resident relocation costs will be.

The agency plans to seek emergency funding from the Federal Highway Administration. That section of Route 30 is designated a national highway, traveled by about 30,000 vehicles per day.

During the press conference, PennDOT District Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni attributed the slide to “excessive weather,” which has also caused dozens of recent road- and lane-closing landslides throughout Alleghany County. The area is known for a rock sublayer called “Pittsburgh red bed” that dissolves when wet, causing the soil above it to slide.