August 21, 2007

As if things couldn't get worse on the transportation front...

So it seems nobody picked up on this sunday pg story about the State footing the bill to repair roadways damaged by underground mining:

"Our roads are taking a considerable beating from longwall mining," said Jim Kleissler, executive director of the Center for Coalfield Justice, a grassroots nonprofit group concerned with coal mining. "It's incredible that they can keep doing this at taxpayer's expense."

Each panel of coal undermined beneath the interstate is costing Pennsylvania taxpayers $1 million to $2 million in repairs, due to a 1962 decision by the state Mining Commission not to purchase the mineral rights beneath Interstates 70 and 79 when they were being built.

How did nobody at the time think it might be important to preserve the ground under which our ROADS PASS OVER??!?!

So far, seven coal panels from the Pittsburgh coal seam have undermined I-79 in Greene County, costing taxpayers between $6 million and $12 million in repairs, and it isn't stopping any time soon.

Foundation Coal Company operates the Emerald and Cumberland mines, which are located next to each other, and together are mining 17 panels of coal 400 to 500 feet beneath the interstate. The panels cross underneath the roadway, and nine more are to be mined during the next two years.

The speed limit was reduced and two lanes of traffic were recently closed because the Emerald Mine is removing the eighth panel of coal, which is more than two miles long.

When the first panel was mined in 2004, the roadway cracked and heaved in both the northbound and southbound lanes, and guide rails were bowed and twisted. During the next three years as panels were removed north and south of the first panel at a rate of two a year, more of the same damage continued.

This State, and particularly southwestern PA has a huge looming transportation problem, and not just mass transit - might as well throw underground threats on the pile.

Just wait until ten years after 80 is tolled and see how much $ has to be thrown at repairing the PA Turnpike due to increaseed truck traffic, along with the focus that will be upon retrofitting our bridges.

Not only is the infrastructure crumbling - look at the logistical snafu that literally brought traffic to a stop during the February snowstorm.

Come wind, rain, sleet or hail, nothing can stop PA transit authorities from failing to deliver - or our officials from really understanding the scope of the problem.


EdHeath said...

Good catch, intern.

The ironically named "Foundation Coal Company" ...

Will Toe said...

With PennDOT's announcement that it will take $11 billion to fix the bridges, I think looming transportation problem might be an understatement.

PS...More posts, less filing, intern