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West Carson Road And Rail Closures Continue With Hillside Cleanup, Explosions

Norfolk Southern blasted loose boulders Wednesday from a Mt. Washington hillside that were threatening to tumble onto its railroad tracks and a busy city road below. 

West Carson Street has been closed from the east side of the Fort Pitt Bridge to Commerce Drive since a landslide last week sent debris into the road. The railroad company's controlled explosion went off a few minutes before its scheduled 6:15 a.m. start time.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Dave Pidgeon said the hillside above has experienced multiple landslides in the past two months. He said the latest landslide prompted immediate action.

“We had concerns about what was left on the hillside after the last landslide,” said Pidgeon. “We looked at it and realized that there were potential hazards there that needed to be taken care of sooner rather than later.”

The company is still working to develop more long-term solutions, Pidgeon said. If needed, a second blast may occur on Friday, and street and rail closures are scheduled to remain through at least Saturday morning.

Railroad spokesman Rudy Husband praised city leaders, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for helping the railroad get the necessary permits over the holiday weekend.

Pittsburgh’s Monongahela line carries 50 to 60 trains daily and is a key link between rail hubs in Chicago and New York.

Pidgeon said rerouting has affected rail traffic hundreds of miles away.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.