September 27, 2006

Pre-Bid Investigation: Kilbuck Landslide

On September 19, 2006, a massive landslide occurred at a shopping plaza construction site in Kilbuck Township, PA that led to the shutdown of busy traffic and rail arteries. The development was related to a shopping complex to be anchored by a Walmart store.

Work crews on September 23, 2006 opened all three affected Norfolk Southern Railway tracks adjacent to Ohio River Boulevard (Route 65). While the recent progress will help increase freight traffic — between 70 and 90 trains a day typically travel on the line — motorists will still be forced to detour for the rush-hour commute. In a cleanup timetable released on September 22, PennDOT and the developer of the complex, Kilbuck Properties, announced a goal to reopen Route 65 by Oct. 7, 2006.

An extensive investigation into the cause of the Kilbuck landslide has been undertaken at the site since the 2006 landslide. In late September 2007, Walmart announced that it was abandoning the site for a potential Walmart store but would remain involved with on-going site stabilization efforts. 

What It Means to You

Pre-bid investigation by the developer and also the contractor (including both surface and sub-surface conditions) can be vital to avoiding later construction problems. Close monitoring of a project during the performance of the work can also minimze or eliminate future problems. For example, an earlier landslide at the Kilbuck site in April 2006 halted the project including a short closure of Ohio River Boulevard. It is unknown if a detailed investigation of the cause of the April slide was conducted. The attorneys at Cipriani & Werner are ready to help you with any issues that may develop during your construction project.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette