After Years of Flooding, Work Still Remains in Pennsylvania

Mon December 09, 2019 - Northeast Edition #25
Brenda Ruggiero – CEG Correspondent

On Route 87, Wagman Heavy Civil uses its Komatsu PC300LC excavator with drill attachment and Rylind Construction uses its John Deere 135G excavator.
On Route 87, Wagman Heavy Civil uses its Komatsu PC300LC excavator with drill attachment and Rylind Construction uses its John Deere 135G excavator.
On Route 87, Wagman Heavy Civil uses its Komatsu PC300LC excavator with drill attachment and Rylind Construction uses its John Deere 135G excavator. On Route 87, McCrossin Foundations uses its Cat AP190 drill rig. The project involved constructing a soldier pile retaining wall with rock anchor-tie-backs, minor drainage and roadway reconstruction. Repairs for this area along Route 187 began on May 2, 2019 and were completed on Oct. 25, 2019. This involved a large rock embankment repair due to erosion at the toe of the slope. The total cost was $2 million. On Route 187, a Caterpillar 335 excavator receives concrete. Ongoing flooding conditions were encountered in the beginning stages of the project along Route 187 that created more of a challenge.


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Engineering District 3 continues to work to remedy the challenges created by above average precipitation in north central Pennsylvania. This has occurred since 2016 and has resulted in flooding in many areas.

Recently, PennDOT reported that 411 flood damaged highways were repaired. This included both roadway and bridge projects at an approximate cost of $56 million in 2018. This is well above the normal PennDOT budget of approximately $30 million for statewide emergency funding in a given fiscal year.

"The repairs for most of the damaged areas are complete or are currently under repair," said Kim Smith PennDOT community relations coordinator. "However, the long-term impacts from the flooding will take many years to recover from. Flood damage for most sites occurs during the actual flooding, however embankment failures or landslides can occur several months or years later due to the mechanics of the failure."

Smith released information on the top five projects created for PennDOT by flooding in the summer of 2018.

Route 187, Wilmot Township, Bradford County

Repairs for this area began on May 2, 2019 and were completed on Oct. 25, 2019. This involved a large rock embankment repair due to erosion at the toe of the slope. The total cost was $2 million.

Repairs were completed by Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc.

"This is a major traffic route and approximately 650 feet of the embankment holding up the roadway failed due to 2018 flooding," Smith said.

Ongoing flooding conditions were encountered in the beginning stages of the project that created more of a challenge.

Equipment used for the repairs included a Caterpillar 335 excavator, a Caterpillar 325 excavator, a Caterpillar 953 track loader, two Caterpillar D-6 dozers, one Caterpillar 25-ton articulating dump truck, one Bomag BW 211D-40 single drum vibratory roller, one Gradall, one Caterpillar track skid steer, one Caterpillar track paver, one distributor truck, one Caterpillar CB 10 dual drum vibratory roller, one Hamm HD 12 dual drum vibratory roller, and one to 10 tri-axle dump trucks daily depending on the contractor's operational needs.

Subcontractors included Valley Seeding Co. Inc.; Roadsafe Traffic Systems Inc.; and Interstate Safety Service Inc.

Route 4017, Troy Township, Bradford County

This project started Oct. 28, 2019, and is scheduled to be complete by fall 2020. The cost is $2 million. It involves a large rock embankment repair due to erosion at the toe of the slope.

The contractor is Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc.

Smith noted that an embankment holding up the road failed.

"The failure, which occurred in the fall of 2018, was originally scheduled to be repaired in March, but was postponed due to the landslide progressing during the initial repair project," she said.

Route 1023, Wysox Township, Bradford County

The project involves a bridge replacement. Work began May 28, 2019, and was scheduled to be completed in November.

The cost is $1.8 million and the prime contractor is Quandel Susquehanna Supply Co. Inc.

"The existing older bridge had damage due to the flood that was so severe, it was beyond repair," Smith said. "High water in the creek hampered the operation (during the project)."

Equipment includes two Komatsu PC 280 US excavators, a John Deere 310A backhoe, a Case TV 380 fully tracked skid steer with various attachments, three 2018 F-150 pickup trucks, one 2010 International tractor trailer flatbed truck, on 2017 Mack diesel tractor trailer equipment hauler and two John Deere 450K crawler dozers.

Subcontractors included HRI Inc., which provided paving of near and far approaches structure and was the bituminous technician, and Green Acres Contracting Co Inc., which installed guiderail before and after the new structure.

Route 87, Plunketts Creek, Lycoming County

This repair began on May 29, 2018, and was completed on Aug. 26, 2019.

The $1.775 million contract involved constructing a soldier pile retaining wall with rock anchor-tie-backs, minor drainage and roadway reconstruction.

The prime contractor was Rylind Construction Co., Lewisberry, Pa., with Kyle Eaton as project manager.

The repair was necessary because an embankment holding up the road failed.

Smith noted that a challenge with this repair was getting access for the drill rig and other construction equipment.

"All work was behind a barrier as a single lane of traffic was maintained using traffic signals," she said.

The equipment list included a Cat AP190 drill rig, a John Deere 135G excavator, a Komatsu PC300LC and paving equipment.

Subcontractors included McCrossin Foundations, Wagman Heavy Civil Inc. and Robert C. Young Inc.

Route 2023, Asylum Township, Bradford County

This project began on May 2, 2019, and completed on Sept. 11, 2019. It involved a sheet pile wall and rock embankment that had erosion at the toe of the slope. The cost was $1.45 million.

The prime contractor was Susquehanna Valley Construction Corp.

Equipment included a Terex high lift crane, an Erke pile vibrator, an ICE sheet hammer, two Caterpillar 231 excavators, one Caterpillar 301.8 mini-excavator, one Genie aeriel work platform, one 2018 F-150 pickup truck, a Caterpillar 420 F2 backhoe, a Bomag roller, an International tractor trailer flatbed, and three to six Ford tri-axle dump trucks as required.

Subcontractors included Glenn Hawbaker, for bituminous pavement placement for the roadway; and Green Acres Contracting Co. Inc., which installed new guide rail, post, end treatments, delineation and drainage markers.

Smith said that there are currently 34 active landslide sites across six counties in District 3.

Ongoing landslides pose a challenge for funding repairs. Smith noted that damage that occurred during the flooding events was eligible for federal emergency funds.

"The landslides occurring after the flood events are not eligible for federal emergency funding and will need to be programmed for funding as the department's operating budget and emergency funding availability will allow," she said.

Safety in these areas has been a priority, and Smith reported that several roadways have been closed due to the continuing nature of the embankment failure/landslide. In other roadways, traffic restrictions have been imposed such as shoulder and lane closures.

In addition, all landslide areas that are open to traffic are being monitored at regular intervals and after storm events to ensure restrictions are placed or roads are closed prior to the landslides reaching a critical point.

Smith reported that all landslides are being prioritized based on the community and regional needs, and the most critical landslides are being evaluated to determine the best repair options and funding sources.

Once the prioritization and evaluations are completed, PennDOT will report which landslides are able to be repaired and the approximate schedules for the projects. CEG