Road to be closed for months after collapse, evacuations
EAST PITTSBURGH, Pa. (AP) — A road that collapsed during a landslide in western Pennsylvania that prompted the evacuation of an apartment complex will be closed for months, state transportation officials said.
Officials say the portion of Route 30 in the borough of East Pittsburgh, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Pittsburgh, plummeted about 40 feet (12 meters) down a steep hill early Saturday.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials said buckling and other problems had been observed along the road, but officials thought they were related to drainage, only learning the real problem after geotechnical drilling.
“It was sinking before, but we never imagined it was a landslide,” PennDOT District 11 Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni said. “The wall was holding up the whole entire hillside, and when the pressure got too strong the wall broke.”
One building in the apartment complex collapsed, but no injuries were reported. Two other buildings had been evacuated the day before, and the other four were evacuated on Saturday along with a home and a business.
PennDOT said Route 30 will be closed in both directions for at least two months as crews figure out how to repair the roadway.
Thirty-one people were evacuated from 29 apartment units, and officials said it could be weeks before they can move back in. Some are staying with family members, but others are being put up in hotels in the area.
Some displaced residents at a hotel told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they lost everything except for the clothes they were wearing. They said they should have been warned about a potential evacuation earlier.
Moon-Sirianni told them that it was unlikely any of their belongings would be recovered, but PennDOT would see about reimbursing them.
“I’d rather get my stuff back than the money,” said Larry Robinson, 67, a musician who said he lost four guitars, two amplifiers and a PA system to the landslide.