On September, September 26rd, 2019, the ASCE Pittsburgh Section Geo-Institute and Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG) – Greater Pittsburgh Chapter held a joint kickoff dinner meeting at the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania. An outstanding 98 ASCE and AEG members gathered for a presentation regarding the S.R. 0030 Emergency Landslide Repair from Brian Heinzl, P.E.. Mr. Heinzl, a Geotechnical Project Manager for Gannett Fleming Inc. The exceptional attendance marked one of the largest kickoff dinners for both organizations. Mr. Heinzl recounted the events that led to the April 2018 landslide event which left damaged homes and the closure of a principal artery to Pittsburgh.
The presentation focused on the geotechnical aspects of the project and the expedited schedule of the repair design. The initial work included engineering evaluation while the slope was actively accelerating vertically and laterally, leading to a road closure of S.R. 0030 and an evacuation of surrounding dwellings. Just one day after the evacuation and closure, a major landslide occurred, ultimately resulting in total movement of the slope 300 feet laterally and 50 feet in depth. Mr. Heinzl discussed the work that Gannett Fleming did which allowed them to prepare a comprehensive design package in just ten days, in turn allowing PennDOT to quickly bid and construct the landslide repair. He also described the construction of the repair itself, which took place over the course of only 62 days. The roughly two month repair included the excavation of over 35,000 CY of existing material, over 30,000 CY of rock embankment, and construction of a 400-foot long anchored solder pile and lagging retaining wall.
Mr. Heinzl also acknowledged the significant cooperation between Gannett Fleming Inc., Golden Triangle Construction, Inc., PennDOT District 11-0, and dozens of subcontractors, vendors, and organizations. The collaboration between all involved in the project limited the impacts of the landslide and reduced the out of service time of S.R. 0030 to 80 days. Aside from re-opening the road an importance was also placed on the well-being of the individuals displaced from their homes and business because of the landslide. Many local organizations were essential in recovering items for displaced residents, providing relocation assistance, and keeping local residents informed.
The event concluded with a discussion with the attendees on slope monitoring and landslide mitigation methodologies that could be utilized for similar events moving forward. A timely topic of discussion was the use of drone technology in the surveying and monitoring of the landslide. Both the presentation and discussion allowed attendees to gain insight on the expedited design and construction process and the integration of advanced technologies to assist in the monitoring and repair of landslides. With the number of landslide events that have occurred in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, the Pittsburgh ASCE Geo-Institute and AEG are pleased to provide membership with presentations such as Mr. Heinzl’s for the continued education and awareness of relevant topics happening in the region.
Prepared by: Shirley Tang, E.I.T. – ASCE Pittsburgh Geo-Institute Vice Chair
Edited by: Taylor DaCanal, E.I.T. – ASCE Pittsburgh Geo-Institute Member-At-Large