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Allegheny

Route 30 collapses in East Pittsburgh landslide, will be closed for months

Theresa Clift
| Saturday, April 7, 2018, 11:00 a.m.

A portion of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh plummeted about 40 feet down a steep hill early Saturday in a landslide that also took out an apartment building and threatened several others, officials said.

The slide occurred about 6 a.m., when a wall above Route 30 broke, said PennDOT District 11 Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni. Route 30 will be closed in both directions for at least two months as crews figure out how to repair the roadway, she said.

About 21,000 vehicles a day use that section of Route 30, according to PennDOT data. That area of Route 30, also known as the Lincoln Highway, is between Downtown Pittsburgh and the Westmore­land County line.

The Electric Avenue Apartments building was occupied at the time but no one was injured, Moon-Sirianni said.

"Everyone is safe, all workers are safe and all traveling public is safe. That's our biggest concern right now is the safety of everyone," Moon-Sirianni said.

PennDOT closed the eastbound lanes at 1 p.m. Friday because of the road buckling. Two apartment buildings were evacuated.

The remaining four apartment buildings, all in East Pittsburgh, along with a house where a family lives and a business in North Braddock were evacuated Saturday morning after the slide, said Steve Cowan, PennDOT spokesman.

In all, 31 people have been evacuated from 29 apartment units, Moon-Sirianni said. It could be weeks before they can move back.

In the meantime, some are staying with family, while PennDOT is paying for the rest to stay in the area and for their basic needs, Moon-Sirianni said.

Cowan declined to disclose where the displaced residents are staying.

Residents could move back into some of the apartment buildings after crews remove soil, Moon-Sirianni said.

Issues with Route 30 started about a week ago, but officials did not know it was a landslide until they performed geotechnical drilling, Moon-Sirianni said. They originally thought it was an issue with drainage.

"It was sinking before, but we never imagined the magnitude that it was a landslide," she said. "The wall was holding up the whole entire hillside, and when the pressure got too strong the wall broke."

Drilling will continue as officials decide on a solution.

Traffic was being detoured from Route 30 onto Electric Avenue, but Moon-Sirianni said PennDOT was planning to change the detours, partly because of drivers speeding on Electric Avenue while crews were working.

North Braddock, East Pittsburgh, PennDOT and the state have issued emergency declarations, which will allow them to hire contractors faster without the normal bidding process, Moon-Sirianni said.

"This area is very prone to landslides," Moon-Sirianni said. "We have some of the best engineers who have worked on many other solutions working on this one, too."

The borough has not had issues with landslides along Route 30 before last week, East Pittsburgh police Chief Lori Payne said.

More residents along Electric Avenue might have to relocate because they may lose power, Payne said.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, tclift@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tclift.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir tweeted out an aerial video of the portion of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh that dropped 40 feet down a hill early Saturday, April 7, 2018, as the result of a retaining wall collapse and landslide.
World News Tonight
ABC World News Tonight with David Muir tweeted out an aerial video of the portion of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh that dropped 40 feet down a hill early Saturday, April 7, 2018, as the result of a retaining wall collapse and landslide.
ABC World News Tonight with David Muir tweeted out an aerial video of the portion of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh that dropped 40 feet down a hill early Saturday, April 7, 2018, as the result of a retaining wall collapse and landslide.
World News Tonight
ABC World News Tonight with David Muir tweeted out an aerial video of the portion of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh that dropped 40 feet down a hill early Saturday, April 7, 2018, as the result of a retaining wall collapse and landslide.
A landslide resulted in damage to buildings between Route 30 and Electric Avenue in East Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a sinkage began collapsing the roadway along Route 30, which rises above Electric Avenue.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
A landslide resulted in damage to buildings between Route 30 and Electric Avenue in East Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a sinkage began collapsing the roadway along Route 30, which rises above Electric Avenue.
A landslide resulted in damage to buildings between Route 30 and Electric Avenue in East Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a sinkage began collapsing the roadway along Route 30, which rises above Electric Avenue.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
A landslide resulted in damage to buildings between Route 30 and Electric Avenue in East Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a sinkage began collapsing the roadway along Route 30, which rises above Electric Avenue.
An apartment building in East Pittsburgh collapsed Saturday, April 7, 2018, due to a landslide along Route 30.
Lori Payne, East Pittsburgh Police
An apartment building in East Pittsburgh collapsed Saturday, April 7, 2018, due to a landslide along Route 30.
The closure of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 7, 2018 where traffic is being redirected onto Electric Avenue for a detour. Crews are working on a road sink that forced PennDOT to close the roadway.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
The closure of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 7, 2018 where traffic is being redirected onto Electric Avenue for a detour. Crews are working on a road sink that forced PennDOT to close the roadway.
A landslide resulted in damage to buildings between Route 30 and Electric Avenue in East Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a sinkage began collapsing the roadway along Route 30, which rises above Electric Avenue.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
A landslide resulted in damage to buildings between Route 30 and Electric Avenue in East Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a sinkage began collapsing the roadway along Route 30, which rises above Electric Avenue.
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