UPDATE: Chesapeake road could be closed several days for rockslide removal
CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — Ohio officials are saying it could be a week before they are able to clear and make repairs to Ohio 7 after a Monday morning rockslide left several large boulders blocking the road.
At about 7 a.m. Monday the rockslide occurred near Tallow Ridge Road, just east of the U.S. 52 interchange and the 6th Street Bridge to West Virginia. The boulder is completely blocking the westbound lanes, with debris also covering at least one eastbound lane.
Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation in District 9, said the DOT is still working on time estimates, but expects it could be until the end of the week before the road is fully cleared of debris and reopened.
Fuller said as of Monday afternoon, crews were on scene breaking down the rock with a “jack hammer”-like machine. The DOT entered an emergency contract with a construction company that sent two crews with equipment Monday afternoon.
It could be at least 48 hours before the rock is cleared, and then road repairs will begin, Fuller said.
“This happened in the westbound lanes,” she said. “The eastbound will probably be opened sooner, because that is just kind of debris carry over.”
The repairs could take three or four days, she said. The DOT plans to pave the road with concrete, since asphalt plants are closed for the season.
“The pavement we know is damaged, so that will (require) repairs,” she said. “But to what extent, we don’t know at this point.”
Large rocks lined the hillside Monday above the road. Fuller said at some point, crews will assess the hillside’s stability to determine if more work needs to be done there.
Fuller said she believes the slide was caused by recent weather patterns in the area.
“We have throughout the state, especially along the Ohio 52 and Ohio 7 corridor, we have areas that are prone to rockslide,” she said. “We have a certain type of geology and the ways the roads have been built over the years, they are prone to this, but the weather also wreaks havoc.”
She that usually occurs when there is a rainy season or periods as weather starts to warm.
One eastbound lane is currently open, but Westbound motorist are being detoured via the 6th and 17th street bridges to West Virginia.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.