The rain is causing some costly problems for roads in Western Pennsylvania.
There have been more rainy days than sunny days in the last month and a half, some with torrential downpours, leading to several dozen landslides.
Jim Struzzi, spokesman for PennDOT’s District 11 , says in some cases rocks and mud have fallen onto the road, and in others the roadway slope has slipped away, causing the travel lanes to subside and crack. District 11 covers Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence Counties.
Struzzi says the due to the geography of the area, there are a lot of shale deposits that, when they become saturated, become loose and slick. He says rocks then tend to give way.
Struzzi says the immediate goal is to get the debris and mud cleared when slides occur so the roadway can be reopened to traffic, if that’s possible. Some of the affected roads still have lane closures. One of the major roads that has been hit with a landslide is Route 65, the Ohio Valley Boulevard. Struzzi says it’s not the first time they’ve had to deal with rocks coming down on Route 65, because it does run along the Ohio River.
Struzzi says there were 32 active slides just in Allegheny County alone.
Repairs are expected to be costly. Struzzi says conservative estimates, just to deal with the major landslides, put the cost at between $15 and $25 million dollars. He says that’s funding that they just do not have at this time. Struzzi says the situation will require some tough decisions.
Struzzi says with the way the weather has been going, and is predicted through July, they’re going to have additional landslides to deal with in Western Pennsylvania.