MAHONING TOWNSHIP, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Weeks after a rock slide on a major roadway in Carbon County, crews are now working to clear the road.
“I’m going to have to leave earlier,” said Nicole Weaver, a Lehighton resident.
Nicole Weaver was on her way to work this morning when she was stopped by these signs.
“I heard that it was going to be closed, but I didn’t know exactly when and what time,” said Weaver.
The Lehighton resident had to turn around and follow one of the detours to get to Jim Thorpe. This section of Route 209 will be closed Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the next three weeks as crews clean up a rock slide.
“We have loose debris and we’re doing the best we can right now to evaluate it and make it safe,” said Calvin Ulshafer, PennDOT construction manager.
PennDOT hired rock slide experts from Colorado to knock down the loose stones and remove them from the roadway.
“This is something that needs to be done by hand,” said Ulshafer.
For some of the more massive boulders, that can’t be done until they’re broken into smaller pieces.
Machines could actually do more damage than what’s already been done by mother nature.
“Weather conditions can erode at the rock and when it becomes loose it just falls down,” said Ron Young, PennDOT.
To get the job done, rock scalers will repell from the side of the mountain; using hammers and chisels to get all those loose pieces off the mountain. They will also put up mesh netting in some areas.
The road is open to drivers on the weekends. To allow tourists to see the fall colors. Still – drivers are reminded to stay alert whenever they see falling rock signs.
“Any section of this hill can have loose rocks that can fall down,” said Young.
“It’s scary. I almost feel like I just want to go the back way from now on,” said Weaver.
That stretch of 209 is open on the weekends and from 2 p.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays. The project is expected to be complete by Oct. 27.