Engineers Conducting Tests Following Mt. Washington Landslide
STATION SQUARE (KDKA) – Emergency crews and engineers are conducting several tests following a Mount Washington landslide Tuesday morning.
Mud, trees and other debris fell from Mount Washington in the area of West Carson Street and Station Square Drive.
According to Norfolk Southern, one of the main rail lines is directly impacted and was covered with debris.
KDKA’s John Shumway Reports:
Stretching almost the length of a football field, the hillside shifted along Mount Washington and dropped massive amounts of debris, mud and trees onto the railroad tracks below.
A passing Norfolk Southern railroad crew first spotted the slide encroaching on the tracks above Carson Street just after 4 a.m. and called it in.
“We have a significant rockslide event at the base of Mt. Washington,” Kevin Acklin said. “It’s about a 100-yard length of railroad track that’s been covered over.”
As major machinery moved in to clean up the debris, smaller chunks of the hillside continued to fall.
“Once we get some debris removed, we’ll be able to get a better understanding of what we have,” Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa said.
KDKA’s John Shumway Reports:
Around 1 a.m., the first sign of the looming slide appeared on the tracks. It wasn’t long until the rest of the loose debris came crashing down.
“At this time, we do not believe there’s any danger to any of the structures at the top of the hill,” Public Safety Director Mike Huss said.
There were no evacuations, but the Duquesne Incline was shut down until about 9:30 a.m. The incline has its own ground monitoring equipment.
“All of our equipment has shown no issue at all, with our right of way or our part of the hillside,” said Mark McNally, the executive manager of the Duquesne Incline.
Geotechnical engineers were brought in to evaluate the stability of the hillside and the structures above.
“As far as the line further up the side of the hill, it has not changed,” said Huss.
Engineers did a brief scan and preliminary testing on Grandview Avenue. They did not observe any tension cracks, which eased their concerns that this could spread.
PWSA has checked the area as well and reported no cracks in any pipes.
Huss said, the slide has not progressed further up the hill, but there is still movement.
KDKA’s Heather Abraham Reports:
The LeMont Restaurant was also closed as a result of the slide. Huss said the restaurant has not suffered any damage, but they erred on the side of caution in closing it.
“They have determined and issued an order to vacate for the LeMont Restaurant until further evaluation can be done,” said Huss.
Ironically, after some boulders the size of cars came down two weeks ago just beneath the restaurant, the LeMont hired engineers to come take a look today.
“There was no way to predict what would occur now based on what occurred two weeks ago,” Bruce Roth, of GAI Consulting, the city’s engineering consultant, says.
It will be closed through at least Thursday.
“Like any other business, we want to get them reopened as fast as we can,” said Huss.
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