Sunday 8 April 2018

Landslide in East Pittsburgh leads to closure of Route 30 and evacuation of seven apartment blocks.

A landslide in East Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has led to part of the Route 30 Highway to collapse about 15 m, with part of the hillside coming to rest on an apartment block bellow, causing structural damage but no injuries. The incident happened at about 6.00 am local time on Saturday 7 April 2018, and resulted in the section of highway, which is used by about 21 000 vehicles every day, being closed off and the apartment block being evacuated, with residents being given time to snatch only emergency items such as medication. A further six neighbouring apartment blocks have also been evacuated as a precaution, and water, electricity and gas supplies, which may have been damaged by the event, shut off for the time being. It is thought that repairs to the road will take around two months to complete. All of the evacuees are currently being re-housed at the expense of the Pennsylvania Department of Transport.

The collapsed section of the Route 30 Highway in East Pittsburgh. CBS Pennsylvania.

The weather has been exceptionally wet this week, with 45 mm of rain falling in Pittsburgh in the first week of April 2018 (roughly double what would normally be expected) including 30 mm on Tuesday 3 April alone. This has combined with rapidly melting snow cover in the area to cause widespread drainage problems. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.

 Apartment buildings beneath the Route 30 Highway effected by the 7 April 2018 landslide. WJPA.

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