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Gilpin landslide cleared

Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
A car passes the area of a landslide that closed both lanes of Route 66 in Gilpin near The River's Edge canoe rental business late Tuesday night. Photographed on Wednesday morning, April 9, 2014.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014, 12:41 a.m.

River Road in Gilpin is open and clear of debris after a Tuesday night landslide near the River's Edge canoe and kayak rental business.

Police and firefighters closed the road for about three hours late Tuesday through early Wednesday after the slide brought trees, rocks and earth crashing onto the roadway in the 3200 block.

The slide was first reported about 11 p.m. when a car crashed into the falling debris. Early reports indicated that two people were involved in the accident, including a driver with a head injury; an Armstrong County 911 dispatcher later said no one was taken to a hospital.

An update on their injuries was unavailable Wednesday with Gilpin and Leechburg police not returning several phone calls. Attempts to reach the Gilpin and Leechburg fire departments, as well as Lower Kiski EMS, were unsuccessful.

Ken Campbell, a PennDOT assistant manager for Armstrong County, said there were no wrecked cars at the scene when his crew arrived about 11:30 p.m. The four-man crew, he said, cleared the debris before 3 a.m. Wednesday. The closed section, from Airport Road in Gilpin to the Market and Main streets intersection in Leechburg, reopened.

The slide area — about 30 yards wide — is stable and doesn't pose a threat, according to Campbell. The hillside will be assessed in the coming days by PennDOT engineers to determine whether work is needed to further stabilize the area.

The slide didn't damage the road, but a large tree that fell across it knocked the guardrail off one of its steel posts along the Kiski River. Several concrete barriers on the other side of the road also were damaged.

Neill Andritz, owner of The River's Edge, said the slide missed his business by about a quarter-mile toward Leechburg. The cliff that looms above his business opposite the Kiski River, he says, is prone to landslides.

“We had another big one last year,” Andritz said. “It's a really steep cliff, so it's something you have to get used to here.”

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or



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