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PennDOT: Hunter Road may remain closed until winter

| Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
Above, a sizable crack running diagonally down Hunter Road has kept the road closed since mid-May.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
What was once a relatively benign dip in Hunter Road has become a large crack, making the road impassable.

PennDOT officials say they hope to have Hunter Road fixed and open before winter sets in.

The state road — which connects Hamil Road to Allegheny River Boulevard and becomes Plum Street as it crosses the Oakmont border — has been mostly closed since April, when a diagonal crack continued causing difficulty and resisted early attempts to fix it.

The problem was initially blamed on drainage issues. But after briefly reopening, the road was re-closed May 19 and has been shut ever since.

Press officer Steve Cowan said PennDOT officials received approval for an emergency procurement in late May, and brought on a design consultant, Canonsburg-based American Geotechnical and Environmental Services, in June.

“Drilling has been completed and we're waiting on the lab results,” Cowan said.

AGES officials, Cowan said, have put together a preliminary soil nail layout — which is a way to help stabilize a block of retained ground by reinforcing it with grouted steel rods — and are waiting for the lab results to confirm its effectiveness.

“AGES should be able to finalize a design package soon,” Cowan said.

However, the soonest that work could commence is late August, he added.

“Our goal is to have the roadway open prior to winter,” Cowan said.

Susan Kenely lives in the Greenridge development, up the hill from the closure.

“I'd have to call it a moderate inconvenience, but not a major one,” Kenely said. “I work in Cranberry, so to get to the Hulton Bridge, I kind of have to go in a circle using Indiana and Hulton roads.”

Kenely said her daily commute has roughly 3.5 additional miles because of the closure, which is the third in less than two years along Hunter Road/Plum Street.

“The Plum Street one wasn't a big inconvenience; they were just repairing a small bridge,” Kenely said. “But honestly, the landslide nearly Colorado Street (that resulted in the current closure of Hunter) didn't look like a big deal, either, at first.”

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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