PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Crews with Norfolk Southern set off blasts on the hillside along West Carson Street early this morning to clear away loose rocks after a landslide last week.
A total of 150 pounds of dynamite; that’s how much was used to take down the hillside right across from Station Square.
It didn’t sound much louder than a firework, but there was a lot of effort that went into coordinating the blast.
The blast happened just before 6:05 a.m. with the goal of getting the large and loose boulders to fall to the ground in the safest manner possible.
It was a close call for one driver who nearly missed a huge boulder hitting his car last Tuesday after the landslide.
The accident forced Norfolk Southern Railroad to get a plan in place with the city to make sure the situation didn’t repeat itself.
So, after a week of a section of West Carson Street being shut down and a day of contractors placing charges on the hillside, the rocks fell onto the tracks and ground below.
WEB EXTRA: Hillside Blast From Every Angle:
While the blast did take down quite a bit, it’s yet to be determined if it was enough.
“We did not get as much material as we hoped for, so now we’re in the process of assessing the loose stuff that’s up there, how we’re going to get it down,” said Rudy Husband, of Norfolk Southern.
Husband says he went to assess the situation himself this morning. The focus now is to see if a “re-blast” is necessary. If it is, it would happen Friday morning.
Pittsburgh Chief Operations Manager Guy Costa joined the KDKA Morning News to discuss that possibility.
“If anything else is needed to be done, then it will be done on Friday,” he said.
It’s been an inconvenience for drivers, especially those who were impacted this morning by a temporary Wabash Tunnel shut down and nearby parking lots.
But it’s an even bigger headache for the 50 to 60 trains that typically travel along those tracks daily.
“It’s been a tough week for Norfolk Southern because this is one of the most important lines we have in our 22 state network, so it’s been very disruptive,” Husband said.
Their goal is to get one track open by midnight.
West Carson Street is slated to be closed well into the weekend.
If there is a need for a second blast, officials from Norfolk Southern say that decision will be made later today.