NORTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A massive landslide forced crews to tear down several North Strabane Township homes Friday.
Every time the clouds darken and the storms come the people who live on top of a North Strabane Township hilltop keep a wary eye on the ground their homes are built upon.
In those June days when we had so much rain and landslides were a daily occurrence, the hillside holding up Majestic Drive in the Majestic Hills development gave way. The resulting slide put three houses in so much jeopardy it was feared they would slide down the hill as well. Three homes were condemned, the residents moved out, and the plans made for demolition.
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Then came Thursday night’s intense dressing and the hillside gave way again. This time it dropped 15 to 20 feet from behind the homes, leaving the foundations exposed along the back of two of the three houses. And the hillside didn’t stop there. North Strabane first responders say they hillside is still sliding.
Concerned that the houses would collapsed down the hillside an excavator was brought in and with about 100 residents watching, it bit into the homes and brought them down. The first home went in about 40 minutes, the second just a bit longer. The overwhelming sentiment among those watching is that it was “sad.” Two of the three homes have been reduced to rubble.
Meanwhile the slide expanded with the storm on Thursday and now is including damage to Oakwood Drive. Oakwood is one of two streets that lead up the hill to Majestic Hills neighborhood of homes that range up from $350,000. Oakwood Drive has a crack along it’s curbline that was visibly growing as the hours rolled by on Friday.
As a precaution, the hillside lane of Oakwood was closed to traffic. That leaves only a single alternating lane to get up to the development. The second entrance on Forest Lane Drive was completely covered by the slide in January. With Thursday’s storm and the threat to Oakwood, an emergency contractor was brought in to clear Forest Lane and create a second way up the hill. By late Friday, that had been accomplished.
Although for now Forest Lane Drive is only open to first responders on emergency runs, it will be opened to everyone once some additional clean up work is complete.
There others areas of Majestic Hills that have had issues with landslides.
The landlord did not return KDKA-TV’s request for comment. North Strabane is footing the bill under the heading of public interest and will worry about getting reimbursed by the developer later.
With more rain on the way this weekend, this story is far from over.