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Freeport Road landslide area remains closed

Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Contractors working for PennDOT begin clearing trees and rocks from along Freeport Road in Springdale Township on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, after the unstable hillside on Monday evening forced the closing of the road.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 10:33 a.m.
 

Editor's note: Freeport Road in Springdale Township reopened to normal traffic patterns at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Contractors worked Tuesday to get Freeport Road in Springdale Township reopened to traffic but the road near a landslide area remained closed for the most part.

Workers removed trees, boulders and mud from the drop area behind concrete jersey barriers about a mile north of Riddle Run Road.

While crews chipped brush and trees — some the diameter of utility pole — PennDOT geologists also were looking at the steep hillside to see if anything else needs to be done, said PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi.

Struzzi said the drop basin caught almost all of the rocks and debris that slid Monday evening, although a few smaller pieces made it onto the roadway.

At 11 p.m. Monday, PennDOT crews closed Freeport Road from the Ninth Street Bridge to Riddle Run Road because of the slide.

On Tuesday, however, they moved the closure south, closer to the actual slide area to allow access to several businesses along the road.

That solved another dilemma facing PennDOT crews: the scheduled closure of Freeport Road from the Ninth Street Bridge into Tarentum to make way for another “super load” of oversized machinery bound for the new ATI-Allegheny Ludlum mill in Harrison.

Freeport Road reopened about 7 p.m. Tuesday but was to close again at 10 p.m. when the super-load delivery started its slow trek. With the slide closure area reduced, the super-load delivery could proceed as planned.

The posted detour for the slide area remains the same: Northbound traffic uses Riddle Run Road to Butler-Logan Road to Route 28 to Route 366.

Southbound traffic follows the same detour in the opposite direction.

Man killed in 1990 landslide

The approximate site of Monday's slide was the location for a death 23 years ago this month.

In March 1990, a 32-year-old O'Hara man was killed when large trees slid off the hillside and hit his southbound car.

The man's 1986 Toyota sedan was crushed.

Police said the debris from that slide blocked both lanes of traffic, and township officials at the time challenged PennDOT to do something along the state-owned road.

PennDOT had installed jersey barriers and created a drop zone along part of Freeport Road about four years before the man died, but there were no such barriers in the area where he was killed.

Sometime later, additional jersey barriers were installed in the area where the rocks, trees and dirt slid on Monday.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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