We have been following new developments on a large crack in the hillside behind a couple of stores in the Logan Town Centre in Blair County.
The crack is smaller at its beginning near Ashley Home Furniture and then moves up the side of the mountain toward Ross clothing store.
A few weeks ago, it looked to be about a foot wide. As of Thursday, it’s grown to about ten feet wide. A surveyor from the EADS group was on the mountain and said they first measured it to be 15 feet deep.
He said they’ve been out two times each week to survey the fault and get an idea of how the ground is shifting.
A Logan Township Police Officer was keeping an eye on the area and said he heard the problem is that underneath all the slate is clay. Rain has especially lubricated the clay, causing the ground to shift.
Blair County Emergency Services Director Mark Taylor said PEMA gave the Logan Town Centre owners an emergency permit for repairs last week.
Police patrolling the area are mainly concerned about the power lines that run along the base of the hill. Depending on how the ground shifts, there could be an even bigger problem.
The power lines have anywhere from about 40-to-90,000 volts running through them. If the shift in the ground knocks them down, the whole area will be electrified. All of the stores that sit back along the mountain will lose power and will be in a charged zone. Anyone standing in that area would be in danger.
There have been different opinions on how quickly the ground is moving. The officer said he heard the crack grows further apart by two inches every day. The surveyor from the EADS Group said it’s moving, but very gradually. He did not say there was any immediate danger or that part of Brush Mountain would break off and come crashing down. If anything, it would keep slowly sliding apart.
The property owners are based in Missouri, but they are reportedly working with Pittsburgh engineers to fix the fault soon.
Experts said the owners can either drill large beams into the hill to anchor it or excavate the hillside. The quick fix in the meantime would be the installation of modular plastic or concrete barriers.