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PORT VUE, Pa. (KDKA) — A portion of Washington Boulevard in Port Vue was down to a single lane Monday evening after a section of the road collapsed.
Nancy Brown doesn’t drive and five days a week, she walks down Washington Boulevard for coffee at the Unimart.
“I’m walking along and all of a sudden, I thought, why is the street sloped? And I turned around and it was like a foot-and-a-half deep,” she said.
Nancy walked directly to the police station to tell Chief Bryan Myers, who went to check it out and watch as it got worse.
“I’m really worried about it because it’s going out to the center of the road,” he said.
“It” is a collapse of some form that has caved in about 50 feet of the shoulder of the boulevard and is threatening the right lane climbing up the hill.
State Rep. Bill Kortz says it’s a critical road to the community.
“It’s critical to have this road open all the time. School buses come up and down here. It’s very important,” he said.
As the hole deepened and fissures open in the adjoining soil, the vital road was closed. A tree-trimming crew was brought in to remove the now vulnerable trees that were looming over the power and utility lines.
Meghan Schiller’s Report:
All this is happening next to and on Gwen Leshnock’s front yard.
“It’s sinking more. More of my hillside is sinking down the back corner. It’s getting deeper,” she said.
Her dad lives in the home in front of hers and says mine subsidence is the problem.
“We’re over mines,” John Carson said. “There’s one in the back. There’s one over there. This has all been mined.”
People’s Gas has a 4-inch main that runs through the collapsing shoulder of the road and spent the afternoon replacing it with a bright yellow replacement line above ground.
Penn American Water ran a camera through the 48-inch storm sewer owned by McKeesport and found the section in the area of the collapse had a problem. The bottom of the pipe literally has fallen out and the water is running down to who knows where.
PennDOT, which owns the road, is going to bring in drilling crews as soon as all the utilities are marked and try to determine if a suspected mine 75 feet under ground could have played a role in this collapse.
For now, Washington Boulevard has been reopened to a single lane with traffic alternating.
“We’re very comfortable that it’s safe right now and secure,” said Angelo Pampena, PennDOT District 11 Assistant Executive for Maintenance. “We’re going to continue to monitor it and if we continue to see movement, we’re going to close the road again.”
Pampena says the road may have to be further restricted once the repair work begins. He says that work could take weeks or longer depending on the extent of the work necessary.