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Still no solution or timetable to reopen Dark Hollow Road in Oakmont

Michael DiVittorio
| Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 3:42 p.m.
Dark Hollow Road was cleared and reopened to traffic in March.
Traffic cones marked the area where guide rails need to be repaired. The road has since been closed again because of mudslides.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Dark Hollow Road was cleared and reopened to traffic in March. Traffic cones marked the area where guide rails need to be repaired. The road has since been closed again because of mudslides.

There are still no suggestions, cost estimates or timetables for fixing Dark Hollow Road in Oakmont.

The street remains closed after several landslides made it unsafe. The latest slide was April 3.

A tree fell across the road, but no injuries were reported. Dark Hollow reopened for a few weeks last month after temporary barriers were installed to stop the slides.

Engineer Amber Yon told council at a recent meeting they would have to wait until the land dries up and stabilizes before anything else can be done.

“Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not been kind,” Yon said. “With all the rain that we've had, there is still movement on that hillside.”

Mudslides along Dark Hollow have cost the borough more than $30,000 in tree and debris removal, engineering fees and guardrail replacement.

Yon said restoring the hillside could be problematic.

“You're very limited in this case,” she said. “There's really not a good way to access that hillside with construction equipment, even smaller equipment.

Anything you do to stabilize the upper slope, cutting in a roadway to access that area and laying the slope back at a more gradual slope, you risk destabilizing the hillside during construction activities. The cost association with something like that would be tremendous.”

The borough also would need to get permission from three property owners in the area to access their land, which means legal costs.

“There's nothing economically feasible we propose at this time other than continuing to monitor the hillside,” Yon said.

She said the roadway is not at risk for “catastrophic failure” because of bedrock underneath 3 feet of loose materials.

Oakmont officials said an announcement will be posted on the borough's website when the road is ready to be opened.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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