STOWE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Sitting at the temporary traffic light on McCoy Road in Stowe Township, waiting to go around a landslide, may just be the definition of frustrating.
Landslides have become an epidemic in the region over the last two years, and the slides are not letting up.
Penndot District 11 Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni has a brightly colored multi-page spreadsheet of all the slides in her district.
“I think we’re ranging anywhere from 100-120 around here,” Moon-Sirianni said. “We’re cleaning things up. And as we clean them up, they come off and other ones come back on.”
Allegheny County Public Works Director Stephen Shanley says they’ve got their problems, too.
“At the current time, we have 54 landslides on county roads due to the amount of rainfall we’ve had in the last couple years,” Shanley said.
Due to this, Shanley put money into this year’s budget just for slide repairs.
“About 4.5 million for the next year, and we do a lot of work with our in-house forces who do work on these slides too,” Shanley said.
But he points out repairing slides is expensive.
“We’ll be doing seven this year, as long as we get the right of way for the jobs we want to do. And our in house forces will do jobs as well,” Shanley said.
For Penndot, Moon-Sirianni says dollars are shrinking these days and there’s no pot of money for landslide repairs.
“Just to fix the state roads, we need well over $100 million.”
So money to repair slides has to come from somewhere else.
Officials take a very close look at every slide and every road impacted by a slide when deciding where to use the money.
“For every dollar that goes to fix a landslide, a road’s not getting paved, a bridge isn’t being repaired. Or in the maintenance area, that’s potholes and drainage repairs not being done,” Moon-Sirianni said.
All this as the weather gets ready to warm up again and even more slides could make themselves known before the week is out.
“There might be 10 slides we can’t fix in order to pave a road like Route 28, which you have to have those tough conversations here,” Moon-Sirianni said. “You might be impacting a few thousand people by not fixing the slides, but you’re impacting 40,000 people by not paving Route 28.”