PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Heavy rains returned to the Western Pennsylvania region Thursday, and that was not welcome news for property owners already on edge.
The city is currently keeping an eye on 15 active landslides.
KDKA’s David Highfield Reports:
On Thursday afternoon, city Public Works and Mobility and Infrastructure crews had to close down sections of Commercial Street and Forward Avenue in the Squirrel Hill.
“It’s a major inconvenience, but what are you gonna do? This kind of weather, this kind of rain,” said one resident.
A landslide is bringing mud, dirt, rocks and debris down onto the roadway. And crews don’t know when they’ll be able to assess the slide and clean it up due to the inclement weather.
Officials say they are worried about unsafe road conditions there. The same section of road, between Whipple Street in Swisshelm Park and Summerset Drive in Squirrel Hill, was shut down last week.
The closure is expected to have a big impact on commuters, and re-route some school buses.
The road will be closed indefinitely.
At the Walnut Towers apartment building up the hill, the parking lot has also sunk down recently. KDKA’s David Highfield made phone calls trying to get in touch with someone to find out what’s happening in, but so far, no one has called back.
Meanwhile, in Kilbuck Township, a major landslide has forced eight evacuations and is endangering a home that has stood for more than 70 years.
KDKA’s Paul Martino Reports:
According to the Kilbuck Township manager, the hillside behind the home on Old Camp Horne Road is moving at a rate of more than an inch an hour.
“It’s sad,” said Harry Dilmore, the township manager. “I mean, try to clean your entire house out within… and this is a big house. We were monitoring it every hour, on the hour, and it was moving about an inch to an inch and a half an hour.”
The family spent the day getting their possessions out of the house.
“Salvage mode, tried to cut part of the deck off to put less stress on the back of the house,” said homeowner Tom Tomaro. “Got everything out of the house that we possibly could, and moved it out of harm’s way.”
The side of another family’s home has already collapsed.
Officials say all the rain is causing the clay soil underneath to move very quickly.
“There’s major fissures in the ground all the way up that the engineers that have come by said, when the water starts getting in there, this red bed of clay is just going to start getting soft,” Dilmore said. “It’s going to act like marbles, and the rest of the weight is just going to make it come down.”
The Ohio Township Police are doing patrols around the area as a precaution.
Authorities are also warning businesses along Camp Horne Road that they may feel the impacts of the slide. But, so far, that busy business corridor is open to traffic.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.