PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Drivers who use West Carson Street near Tuesday’s landslide will have to find a new route for the next few days.

Crews had hoped to reopen the road Wednesday afternoon, but now that’s not going to happen.

After looking at it from every possible angle, the decision about Carson Street was simple.

“The geo-technical engineers are saying the rock is unstable, and we’re going to keep the road closed,” PennDOT District 11 assistant executive Angelo Pampena said.

And we’re not talking about a day or two.

“It looks like it will be at least until Thursday of next week,” Pampena said.

Because Norfolk Southern has decided the best plan is not necessarily the most simple plan.

“For the sake of stabilizing the hillside to what we hope will be a permanent solution to this problem, we need to get up there and remediate all the loose stone or any stone we feel could come loose in the near-term future,” Norfolk Southern spokesman Dave Pidgeon said.

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It doesn’t take a geo-tech expert to see the seemingly hanging fragmented sections of rock that appear to be suspended in space, and Pampena says in a meeting Wednesday afternoon, the railroad laid out its plan to the city and PennDOT.

“They’re going to drill and prep all weekend, is what they told me, and that seems to be their schedule, and again, you’ll probably see blasting on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Pampena said.

It’s a monumental undertaking. Pampena says they want to take the whole face of the hillside off.

“You can see where those big cracks are? That goes back to that layer, that’s what they found,” Pampena said.

It’s 1,500 to 2,000 cubic yards of rock, a massive and expensive undertaking, but vital to the railroad to gets its main connection from Chicago to New York reopened. So who going to pay for the clean-up?

“That is to be determined,” Pidgeon said. “What’s more important right now is that we get this work done, and we get it done safely.”

The City of Pittsburgh acknowledges that the property belongs to the City; however, they also say that it’s incumbent on the Railroad to get the situation stabilized and to pay for it. In all likelihood, lawyers and a judge will probably end up deciding exactly who does pay.

While the road is closed, the following detour will be posted:

From West of the Slide

  • From Route 837 (West Carson Street), motorists will take the ramp to East I-376/North I-279 onto the Fort Pitt Bridge
  • Follow I-376 (Parkway East) eastbound to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland (Exit 72A) off-ramp
  • Turn left onto Craft Avenue
  • Turn left onto Fifth Avenue
  • Turn left onto the Birmingham Bridge
  • Follow back to Route 837 (East Carson Street)
  • End detour

From East of the Slide

  • From Route 837 (East Carson Street), turn right onto South 10th Street and cross the bridge
  • Turn right onto Second Avenue
  • Turn left onto Bates Street
  • Turn left onto the Boulevard of the Allies
  • Take the ramp to West I-376 Downtown/Fort Pitt Bridge
  • Follow I-376 (Parkway East) westbound to the Fort Pitt Bridge
  • From the Fort Pitt Bridge take the ramp to North Route 837/Route 51 West End
  • End detour

 

The landslide happened around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday on the Mt. Washington hillside, blocking Norfolk Southern railroad tracks, between the Ft. Pitt Bridge and Station Square. The landslide sent a boulder down the side of the hill and onto the road below, where a car struck it. No one in the car was injured. The road was closed, and rail traffic was halted for a period of time.