County, state start coordinating to fix collapsed Route 30 in East Pittsburgh

County, state start coordinating to fix collapsed Route 30 in East Pittsburgh

Updated 1 hour ago

Allegheny County Emergency Services will lead the effort to repair a section of Route 30 that crumbled down an East Pittsburgh hill because of a landslide Saturday morning.

The department will coordinate with local and state agencies, Allegheny County Chief of Emergency Services Matt Brown said Sunday at the scene. At some point, federal agencies could get involved, he said.

A landslide about 6 a.m. Saturday caused a section of Route 30 to fall about 40 feet. The debris took out an apartment building and threatened several other buildings, officials said.

Roadway repairs will take a few months, maybe longer, PennDOT District 11 Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni said.

Crews will perform geotechnical drilling to determine what caused the slide, what the solution might be and how long it will take, Moon-Sirianni said.

Officials hope to have the drilling results by the end of the week so they can settle on a solution and then hire a contractor quickly to start reconstruction, Moon-Sirianni said.

The road has been dropping in the middle for several years, but PennDOT officials thought that was because of a broken pipe beneath it, not a landslide, Moon-Sirianni said.

“It’s been dropping a little bit here and there for a few years, but just a little bit of asphalt,” Moon-Sirianni said. “There was no sign of it being a major catastrophe.”

Last week, when the movement on the hillside started, PennDOT performed geotechnical drilling and found it was indeed a landslide.

PennDOT closed westbound lanes of Route 30 near the Westinghouse Bridge on Wednesday after the road began to buckle. On Friday, all eastbound traffic was halted. Also Friday, East Pittsburgh police Chief Lori Payne evacuated two apartment buildings, including the one that later collapsed.

Thirty-one people have evacuated 29 apartment units in six buildings called Electric Avenue Apartments.

The apartment building that collapsed was demolished Saturday. Officials hope residents are able to return to the complex’s remaining five buildings in the coming weeks after they are repaired, Moon-Sirianni said.

A home that is up the hill from the apartments was damaged in the slide and will need to be demolished, officials determined Sunday. A business down the hill from the house was evacuated.

PennDOT is paying for hotel stays for the residents; county and PennDOT employees are meeting with the displaced to help them find places to stay and providing services.

On Monday, county workers will accompany residents so they can retrieve what they need from their homes, such as medications.

Heavy rain contributed

District 11, which includes Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties, has 70 active landslides — a number that’s constantly changing, Moon-Sirianni said.

February was the wettest on record for Allegheny County, Brown said.

The precipitation has caused slides in places that don’t usually have them, such as Route 30 and Reis Run Road in Franklin Park, which PennDOT also closed Sunday , Moon-Sirianni said.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards plans to stay in the area for several days to monitor the situation. She stressed that no one was hurt or killed in the slide.

She asked residents who live near hillsides to alert PennDOT if they see movement.

“If you see something that’s concerning, please call us and let us know and we’ll have our team out there,” Richards said.

Asked whether PennDOT has received any complaints about that section of Route 30 or the hillside prior to the slide, Moon-Sirianni said, “Not to our knowledge.”

About 21,000 vehicles a day use Route 30, also known as Lincoln Highway, according to PennDOT data. The section of the roadway that was affected is between Pittsburgh and the Westmore­land County line.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, or via Twitter @tclift.

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Published at Sun, 08 Apr 2018 22:51:52 +0000

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