HONESDALE—Slide repairs were a prominent topic discussed at the recent Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Wayne County Customer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting held last Friday.
In total, there are eight different slides in need of repair along Route 191 alone.
Split into two contracts with Kriger Construction, the total cost for all these repairs is over $7 million.
“Slides don't get the recognition they deserve,” explained PennDOT Wayne County Maintenance Manager Mitchell Simon at last Friday's meeting.
“You see very little up top when its a completed project,” said the maintenance manager. “You might see 800 feet of black top. You don't realize what's underneath it.”
Cut-away views in the corresponding work-in-progress photographs, supplied by PennDOT, show the cause for slides and the amount of underground construction needed to re-stabilize the earth underneath the roadway.
Large segments of the hillside need to be rebuilt to support the weight on the road.
“It's going to take a long time to finish these projects,” said Simon.
Discussing the slide on Winterdale Road (State Route 4014), the maintenance manager apologized for the length of time the road has been out of commission.
“We got a lot of bad press on this one,” he said. “We closed the road a little too soon. I apologize.”
Simon explained the permitting process was delayed.
PennDOT Assistant District Executive Dennis Giordano stated workers should be finished with the repair by December of this year.
Total cost for the Winterdale repair is $3 million.
Giordano stated throughout all of District 4, consisting of Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties, there are 27 active slides in need of repair.
Most of these reside in Wayne, Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.
“It takes a large chunk of money off the tip,” said Giordano. “Those are all veteran projects, those are all paving projects that could be. Slides are very expensive repairs, extremely expensive.”
The District Executive explained the cause for the frequency of local slides has more to do with the area's geography than with the actual river flow.
Giordano said, “At one point, millions of years ago probably, Wayne and Susquehanna County were under water. So a lot of the area here has silty, rock-like soil.
“Then when it became inhabited...they built roads along shelfs along the mountains here and waterways.”
The silty soil is unable to support the weight required of it, said Giordano.
“It's the nature of our geography and there's no way around it really.”