Crews Work to Stabilize MD 135 After Rock Slide

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Adminstration (SHA) is currently working to remedy a rock slide that occurred in western Maryland near the Allegany/Garrett County line in ear

📅   Mon March 21, 2016 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero - CEG CORRESPONDENT


The SHA started a $2.7 million project to stabilize the rock face on Thursday, Jan. 28. The repair is expected to take up to 20 weeks, weather permitting.
The SHA started a $2.7 million project to stabilize the rock face on Thursday, Jan. 28. The repair is expected to take up to 20 weeks, weather permitting.
The SHA started a $2.7 million project to stabilize the rock face on Thursday, Jan. 28. The repair is expected to take up to 20 weeks, weather permitting.
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Adminstration (SHA) is currently working to remedy a rock slide that occurred in western Maryland near the Allegany/Garrett County line in early January.
The process being used is called “rock bolting.” This is different from a technique that was used in spring 2015 for a slide in Westernport called “soil nailing.”
Rock bolting involves removing any loose or unstable rock from the mountainside, a process known as scaling.
A containment area made of concrete barrier was set up on westbound MD 135 to catch any rocks that may slide. SHA also placed a protection mat on WB MD 135 to protect the road surface from damage. 
Although the repair will stabilize the mountain’s rock face, the repair is not considered permanent, and engineering geologists are developing a long-term solution to stabilize the mountainside.

The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Adminstration (SHA) is currently working to remedy a rock slide that occurred in western Maryland near the Allegany/Garrett County line in early January.

According to Charlie Gischlar, public information officer of the SHA, the Jan. 2 slide involved a section of the rock face on Bloomington Mountain adjacent to MD 135 (Bloomington Road) near Upper Savage River Road.

As a result, large boulders fell onto MD 135. Because the mountainside was unstable and a risk for further rock slides existed, the SHA closed a westbound lane on MD 135 and traffic was alternated using the eastbound lane guided by a temporary traffic signal.

A containment area made of concrete barrier was set up on westbound MD 135 to catch any rocks that may slide. SHA also placed a protection mat on WB MD 135 to protect the road surface from damage.

The SHA started a $2.7 million project to stabilize the rock face on Thursday, Jan. 28. The repair is expected to take up to 20 weeks, weather permitting.

“Based on data collected from SHA's engineering geologists and other experts in this field, the rock face of the mountainside is highly unstable and emergency measures are required to prevent further rock slides,” said Anthony Crawford, SHA district engineer. “Safety is our number-one priority and we are taking measures to lessen the chances of another rock slide.”

The process being used is called “rock bolting.” This is different from a technique that was used in spring 2015 for a slide in Westernport called “soil nailing.” The mountain along MD 135 is comprised mainly of rock rather than soil. Although the repair will stabilize the mountain's rock face, the repair is not considered permanent, and engineering geologists are developing a long-term solution to stabilize the mountainside.

According to Gischlar, rock bolting involves removing any loose or unstable rock from the mountainside, a process known as scaling. Crews will drill to insert steel rods, such as rebar, into the affected region. The area is then draped with wire meshing and bolted down. Next, experts will apply shotcrete (a spray form of concrete) to anchor, or bolt, the rock face to the mountainside, stabilizing it from further slides.

SHA established a containment area with concrete barrier to catch any unstable rocks and to protect motorists, as well as the pavement on MD 135. Traffic is currently being controlled through this area by a temporary traffic signal. Motorists are told that they should plan an extra 15 minutes of travel time.

SHA's contractors for the repair are KCI Technologies of Sparks; rock stabilization experts Merco Inc. of Lebanon, N.J.; Belt Paving of Cumberland; and East Coast Bridge of Nitro, W.Va.

Major equipment used in the project includes excavators, grade-alls, graders, jackhammers, heavy dump trucks; rubber blast matting (used to protect the pavement on WB MD 135); manlifts; and drilling rigs.