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Slope failure in Prattsville to be evaluated

A slope failure on County Route 2 will be evaluated by engineers.
August 21, 2019 05:39 pm Updated: August 21, 2019 10:06 pm

PRATTSVILLE — An engineering firm will evaluate a slope failure on County Route 2 in the coming weeks, a study that will determine the future of the road.

Greene County lawmakers approved a resolution Monday authorizing Dente Group, of Watervliet, to be paid up to $30,995 to evaluate the site.

“The slope failure is quite large,” Greene County Highway Superintendent Robert Van Valkenburg said. “It starts in the middle of one lane, goes to the outside of the lane, where the road has started to drop away.”

About 250 feet of the road is affected and drivers must use an alternating traffic pattern through this section, Van Valkenburg said.

“We took the precaution because we don’t know how fast it is moving,” he said. “Plus, the more traffic, means more damage.”

The failure has been progressing since 2010 when it was last evaluated, Van Valkenburg said.

The county had planned on doing a group of projects, including County Route 2, when a major slide on County Route 6 in Spruceton occurred, taking priority.

The engineers will take boring samples to determine the cause and potential fixes for the failure, Van Valkenburg said.

“You can’t diagnose the cause or solutions until you have the borings,” he said. “Causes are site-dependent. Fixing this kind of situation is usually very expensive.”

Steep elevations, poor drainage, lack of vegetation and human modifications all contribute to the potential for slope failures, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.

Possible alternatives to repairing the road include closing the road, moving the road, or making a temporary repair, Van Valkenburg said.

Temporary repairs have been made in the past and are problematic, he said.

“The more asphalt, the more weight and the more the slide moves,” Van Valkenburg said.