TDOT tries to figure out where the next rock slide will be

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Southeast Tennessee has received a lot of rain this year and that raises the possibility of rock and dirt slides like the one on Mullins Cove.

But there are thousands of miles of mountainous roads in the state.

T-DOT is keeping an eye of numerous areas where the slides might occur.

Remember the big Ocoee rock slide of 2009?

That’s the one where News 12 was the only station there and dozens of TDOT workers were on that road just moments before it happened.

Well, in the state there are an estimated 2-thousand sites identified for possible slides.

The transportation department last year started the Rockfall Management Program.

The first 200 of those are considered high risk.

We wanted to know if there’s a way to estimate when the slide may occur.

UTC Geologist Dr. Azad Hossain “We prepared a, a, a preliminary model, including slopes and other variables to find out the potential areas that might have landslides again, we never know when it’s going to happen but to narrow down the search areas, so those areas could be related.”

In the Chattanooga area, there are about 20 sites that are potential trouble.
You may remember this incident on Cummings highway at the base of Lookout Mountain. No one was hurt but they could have been.

“The good news is that if you can identify those areas, then we have ways to protect that. Like engineers and geologists and geological engineers, they know how to protect a slope.”

TDOT says it can scale or trim and stabilize some those rock slide areas. And they can also build fences and retainers as they have along highway 64 in Ocoee.

But, the elements are suspected in recent incidents like the roadway collapse on highway 68 in Rhea county.

Dr. Hossain adds “The problem is the areas that we don’t know, we don’t anticipate, that’s what the problems could be.”

TDOT says the Rockfall Management is a 5 year project and the danger areas will be handled as soon as manpower and funds are available.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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