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Mon April 09, 2018 - National Edition
A landslide destroyed a part of Route 30 in Pittsburgh on April 7.
The slide happened early that morning and started when a wall above Route 30 broke, according to PennDOT District 11 Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni. The affected part of the road, located in East Pittsburgh between Downtown Pittsburgh and the Westmoreland County line, fell 40 ft. down a hill, Trib Live reported.
Around 21,000 cars use that portion of Route 30 each day, according to PennDOT, but the agency was able to clear drivers out of the way well before the road collapsed; it closed the eastbound lanes in the early afternoon on April 6 due to road buckling, Trib Live reported.
Problems with the road surfaced about one week before, but officials thought it was a drainage problem until they conducted geotechnical drilling, Moon-Sirianni said.
“It was sinking before, but we never imagined the magnitude that it was a landslide,” said Moon-Sirianni. “The wall was holding up the whole entire hillside, and when the pressure got too strong, the wall broke.”
Officials will continue to drill until they find a solution to the problem, Trib Live reported.
“This area is very prone to landslides. We have some of the best engineers who have worked on many other solutions working on this one, too,” said Moon-Sirianni.
According to Moon-Sirianni, North Braddock, East Pittsburgh, PennDOT and the state of Pennsylvania have all issued emergency declarations so they can bypass the typical bidding process and hire contractors faster.
The landslide also destroyed the Electric Avenue Apartments. According to Moon-Sirianni, the building was occupied at the time of the slide, but no one was injured.
“Everyone is safe, all workers are safe and all travelling public is safe,” said Moon-Sirianni. “That's our biggest concern right now is the safety of everyone.”