Sewickley residents voice concerns over landslide potential
By Kristina Serafini
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
About a dozen people expressed concerns and listened to possible solutions for stabilizing their landslide-prone neighborhood during a public hearing last week in Sewickley.
Engineer Joe Boward, whose firm, Garvin Boward Beitko, was hired earlier this year to conduct a geotechnical engineering evaluation, told residents of Dickson Road, Farren and Miller streets that their properties were located in an “ancient landslide area” that has been sliding for “at least a couple thousand years.”
“This has been going on for a long time,” Boward said. “This is nothing new to this particular area.”
A study of soil in the area showed the hillside contains a rock layer called Pittsburgh red beds, a material Boward said is prone to sliding, especially if it's wet. The Pittsburgh red beds were believed to have played a role in a massive landslide on Route 65 in Kilbuck Township in 2006.
“If you find this material on your site, you immediately know you have a landslide-prone site. Period,” Boward said.
Sewickley Borough Manager Kevin Flannery said no homes are in immediate danger, and as of right now, only the road appears affected.
“It has potential to slide. That doesn't mean it's going to slide in two days, two years or 200 years,” he said.
In order to stabilize the landslide-prone area, a multi-tiered retaining wall system and extensive site grading would be required, which would cost between $7 and $15 million, according to the report from Garvin Boward Beitko. Flannery said that option wasn't feasible.
Boward said the most cost-effective solution would be to stabilize with retaining walls two particular areas of concern — one on Miller Street and another at the hair-pin turn at Dickson and Miller.
Estimated costs for those projects range from $45,000 to $70,000 for the hair-pin turn retaining wall and $175,000 to $235,000 for the Miller Street retaining wall, according to the report.
Neither figure includes fixing the roads, rerouting utilities or any other associated costs.
Flannery said there are no short-term plans if anything should happen in the area, but beginning in the spring, officials will try to determine how water is flowing through the area and the hillside will be monitored for sliding throughout 2013. He expects construction on the retaining walls to take place in 2014.
In the meantime, Flannery said the borough plans to maintain the road as best as it can.
“We're going to make it passable for as long as we can,” he said and added they no longer will lay asphalt on the road and will post weight-limit signs for vehicles in an effort to prevent further damage to the road.
Cochran Hose Company Chief Jeff Neff said though firefighters can't get their firetrucks all the way up to the area anymore, residents shouldknow that they have a plan of action in case of an emergency.
Kristina Serafini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Quaker Valley students extend their school day — willingly
- Sewickley Herald honors: Memorial Day celebration crew recognized
- The Way I See It: Get out! No, really, get out there
- Keep your family organized with a command center
- RMU class holds pie-eating contest benefit
- Quaker Valley board to begin interviewing superintendent candidates
- Life Unleashed: 8 tips for surviving ‘puppyhood’
- Pennsylvania AG at Sewickley event: Vigilance crucial with teens on social media
- Photos: Gone fishin’ in Bell Acres
- St. James youth in Sewickley say ‘YES’ to helping others
- Photos: Easter egg hunting in Sewickley