ROAD REPAIR: Abandoned mine creates dip on Ohio’s Rte. 33

Aug. 26, 2014

Officials not worried but are working on a solution

Abandoned coalmines are now chipping away at Ohio’s Rte. 33.

About a year ago engineers traveling the route noticed a dip in the road, and after further investigation it was discovered that mining was done below the surface in the early 20th century, and the work left voids. Coal pillars and oak beams supported the roof of the mine, and over time the framework collapsed, and ignoring the problem could lead to a serious sinkhole.

The Ohio DOT is executing a $225,000 contract to locate the voids below Rte. 33 in Athens County, and officials believe the traveling public is not in any immediate danger.

“[The road] does not instantaneously drop,” said ODOT geologist Paul Painter. “If there is an immediate risk to the public, we would close the lane or detour around.”

The Rte. 33 Nelsonville bypass was completed last year, and $30 million was spent stabilizing abandoned mines. Since 2008, ODOT has filled four that were considered a risk to state routes.

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