ODOT launches landslide prevention project

MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – An ongoing landslide prevention project in Meigs County is one of dozens of Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) projects aimed at preventing small landslides and landslides to turn into bigger problems.

“The big thing here is that we are proactive. We get out and deal with these mudslides and landslides before they become larger, more costly issues that lead to complete road closures,” said Ashley Rittenhouse of ODOT District 10.

The project is located on US 33 East between Long Hollow Road and the US 33/SR 7 interchange. The right lane will be closed. The passing lane will remain open.

“Drivers will still be able to drive through this area; they should just be aware that there will be workers there, so definitely be careful in the work area,” Rittenhouse said.

Drivers like Bobby Foster, who has lived his entire life in Meigs County, are happy to see that they are trying to prevent slides before they happen.

“An ounce of prevention is better than cure, well, I think that applies to that,” he said. “The big thing here is that we are proactive. We get out and deal with these landslides and landslides before they become bigger and more expensive issues that lead to complete road closures.

The works will consist of the scaling of the rock and the installation of a drape of protection against the falling rocks.

Rock chipping is the removal of unstable rock using hand tools and mechanical methods such as levers, air bladders, jacks, drills, and other measures.

The slope drape is a high tensile steel wire mesh, similar to a chain link fence, but stronger. It will be anchored to the top of the slope and will hold the rocks in place.

The $2 million project is expected to be completed by June 30.

The money for the project comes from COVID relief funding.

Frances Moxly, who also lives in Meigs County, is happy that ODOT is proactive but is hesitant about where the funds will come from.

“It’s all taxpayers’ money no matter where they get it from, so I mean if they feel it’s necessary, but I think maybe it should have been more publicized and given people the right to decide,” she said. “But if it’s going to save lives, of course I want it done.”

These funds are part of the $333.4 million Ohio has received from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Landslides and landslides are a common problem in parts of eastern and southern Ohio. ODOT will use $35 million in federal stimulus funds to complete dozens of projects aimed at catching these issues early or even preventing them in the first place.

ODOT has identified nearly 40 locations in more than a dozen counties where slips and rockfalls are likely to occur in the near future.

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