PennDOT Begins Collapsed Highway Rebuild


Plans for the rebuilding of a collapsed section of U.S. Route 30, just east of Pittsburgh, are starting to come together—the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has awarded the contract to the winning bidder and given the go-ahead for work to proceed.

Golden Triangle Construction won the $6.54 million contract, which includes plans for a 400-by-20-foot retaining wall to be built along the hillside at issue.

Route 30 Collapse Repair

A section of Route 30 collapsed outside Pittsburgh on April 7, along with a nearby apartment building. At the time, one house and eight apartments were evacuated, with the house being demolished. The cause of the collapse was attributed to an unusually rainy month—from Feb. 15 to April 4, Pittsburgh International Airport recorded 9.68 inches of rain. In total, the state incurred $12 million in damages from more than 70 landslides.

In the scramble to repair the collapsed section of roadway, PennDOT has set an “aggressive schedule”: The installation of the retaining wall will begin in mid-May, followed by rebuilding the road and the surrounding area.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, plans for the retaining wall include a 400-foot wall of precast concrete panels, each 20 feet tall, that will be installed about 150 feet below the surface of the road. The new wall will be supported by pylons, which means drilling holes and filling them with concrete. Then, steel posts will be installed horizontally through the concrete panels, into the hillside, to create anchors as additional support.

From there, the hillside will be graded to a gentler slope. Granulated fill will be added to allow for better drainage, followed by the placing of material for the subsurface of the road. A new surface will be paved over the course of two weeks at the end of June, if everything goes according to plan.

Currently, plans indicate that residents of the three remaining apartment buildings of the complex will be able to return to their homes by mid-June, shortly before the roadway is set to reopen.

Cost and Closure

Repair costs now do not account for work done in the last couple of weeks, such as clearing the landslide area, with 250 truckloads of material already hauled away and another 500 estimated to be taken away in the coming weeks. There is also the cost of emergency housing for misplaced residents and the value of the destroyed properties to account for.

PennDOT originally closed the section of Route 30 down on April 6, as the pavement had started buckling some time prior; the road had already been subject to lane restrictions because of the issue.

“Trying to figure out where these slides are [going to occur] is very difficult,” said PennDOT District Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni. “Some of these that popped up in the past couple of days are in areas where we never expected a slide to happen.”



Tagged categories: Disasters; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; Roads/Highways

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