The Route 309 Rock Remediation Project is projected for completion by the end of October or early November 2015. The project is in its second year of construction. The original contract was for $5.2 million and the additional work in 2015 added another $1.7 million to the cost for a total of $6.9 million.
The PennDot project has widened the area of Route 309 North by blasting the rock away from the steep roadway to add more sunlight to help with winter snow and ice removal and maintenance.
James May, District 4-0 Press Officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot,) told the Eagle last week that the sub-contractor phase of the construction is complete. The construction zone did not appear to have any activity for the week of September 14 to 18. May said Latona will start removing rock and dirt material September 21 and will continue for two or three weeks. Rock and dirt materials will be moved away from the roadway to facilitate re-paving and reopening the two lane north bound section.
Construction last year revealed an “earth or dirt seam” near the bottom of the excavation area cliff, that had not been identified from preliminary core drillings through the rock. May described the dirt seam sort of like a cave of dirt within the rock of the mountain. If left exposed, the earth seam could erode and the mountain could crumble. “Rock and dirt was piled it on the earth seam to basically hold it in place,” May said.
The PennDot contractors stabilized the top portion of the exposed rock cliff and attempted to stabilize the rock seam with a concrete cap. The seam was three times wider than originally identified and construction has taken longer than anticipated. The seam needed to be capped to avoid further erosion of the exposed cliff.
May said that the original core samples did not identify the “dirt seam” as the cliff at the top was wider than at the bottom. “Crews can usually detect earth seams, but the steepness of the road in Hanover Township made that difficult for this project. To fix it, crews are going to fill the mountain with a concrete cap. The contractors are resloping the open area and are removing material from the passing lane and piling material to hold the rock seam in place,” adds May.
Route 309 travel has been impacted on both the north and southbound lanes for a year and a half. When completed, two lanes will service traffic on each side of Route 309.