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Route 30 Reopens In East Pittsburgh Following April Landslide

Route 30 is open to traffic again following the April landslide that destroyed a 300-foot section of the road near East Pittsburgh. Repairs included shoring up the collapsed hillside, installing a replacement drainage system, and adding a retaining wall anchored by steel piles at the base of the hill.

PennDOT District 11 executive Cheryl Moon-Siriani said crews worked around the clock to repair the hillside and roadway, making it possible for the route to reopened after about 60 days.

“If this was a normal slide project, it probably takes about two years, well it takes about a year plus to even get started in construction,” she said. “We used emergency procedures, so we didn’t have to follow some of the very elongated processes.”

The landslide also impacted an apartment complex and destroyed several homes at the base of the hill, forcing the relocation of dozens of residents.

Moon-Siriani said they believe the collapse was caused by excessive rainfall. Upon inspection, the destroyed section of road was built over landfill, likely from the 1930s. The rest of the roadway sits on solid rock. 

The contract for road repairs was $6.5 million, but Moon-Siriani said the total cost will likely be higher due to other factors like the removal of debris and the relocation of residents.

“We probably won’t know the full cost for at least a year or two,” she said. “I could say it’s probably going to be around $10 million. That’s just a guess, but knowing all the costs that went into this, probably $10-11 million.”

Jakob Lazzaro is a digital producer at WESA and WYEP. He comes to Pittsburgh from South Bend, Ind., where he worked as the senior reporter and assignment editor at WVPE and had fun on-air hosting local All Things Considered two days a week, but he first got to know this area in 2018 as an intern at WESA (and is excited to be back). He graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 and has also previously reported for CalMatters and written NPR's Source of the Week email newsletter.