Highway Sagging Due to Mines

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A stretch of highway on Route 33 is resting atop more than just rock and soil. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, there are mines underneath the roadway.

“One of our geotechnical engineers felt something in the road,” Public Information Officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation David Rose said. “Normal folks wouldn’t have noticed there was a small dip in the road, but Andy, as a geotechnical engineer, did.”

Andy Moreland pulled over to the side of the road to perform a visual inspection of the area. Upon returning to his office, he consulted old highway and mining map data.

According to Rose, the 1-mile stretch of Rt. 33 between New Floodwood Road near the Movies 10 theater and the Wayne National Forest Headquarters will be the focus of a $225,000 project to locate the abandoned coal pillars and oak beams, which support the mine’s roof.

“The backbone of a road is a solid foundation,” Rose said. “ But this isn’t a huge issue. The roadway is safe for now, and there is no immediate threat.”

An July Ohio Department of Transportation press release states that the first phase of repair includes using a radar-like device which penetrates through the pavement creating a digital map of the area below the roadway. This detailed map is critical to phase two, which involves placing soil borings along the road way to confirm the locations of the voids found in phase one.

Officials say repairs to the road began in July and could continue anywhere from November to next year.