1. “This was a tremendous undertaking and one of great teamwork between our forces and our contractors, DGM,” said ODOT District 9 Deputy Director Vaughn Wilson.
Say what you will, but more than 2,000 tons (1,814.37 t) of rock on a highway makes an impression — in more ways than one.
Shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Friday, April 10, a landslide occurred on U.S. Route 52 near the Ashland, Ky. bridges at Coal Grove in Lawrence County.
Nearly 2,350 tons (2,131.88 t) of rock and debris landed on the roadway, including a gigantic boulder — roughly the size of a two-story house — that came to rest in the middle of the westbound lanes. The boulder’s weight alone was estimated to be 1,500 tons (1,360.77 t).
Fortunately, the landslide happened during the overnight hours, and traffic was light. No one was injured when the giant rock shut down the four-lane highway.
The event made local and national news. But for ODOT District 9, this spectacular obstacle was just another day at the office.
Work crews were able to clear the eastbound lanes and open them to traffic by 9:30 a.m. that day. ODOT issued an emergency declaration to extend an existing contract with DGM Inc. to help remove the giant stone. With additional equipment, its crews worked with ODOT maintenance forces to continuously cut, clear and haul the massive boulder — measuring about 20 ft. (6.1 m) high, 20 ft. wide, and 50 ft. (15.24 m) tall — from the site.
After 65 hours of work, including five spent repairing damage to the roadway, U.S. Route 52 westbound was reopened to traffic on April 12.
“This was a tremendous undertaking and one of great teamwork between our forces and our contractors, DGM,” said ODOT District 9 Deputy Director Vaughn Wilson. “Both teams did an outstanding job to expedite operations and clear the highway efficiently and effectively, and I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts.