This new slide was within a half mile of an infamous slide that occurred on I-81 in the 1970’s that covered the graded, unopened interstate with a mountain of debris that took several months to clear while the interstate was being constructed.
Given the possibility of catastrophic failure and the impacts that a multiple month closure of I-81 between Christiansburg and Roanoke could have on the national and local economies, a team of dedicated individuals came together from across VDOT, GeoStabilization International, HDR Engineering Inc., and Radford University to develop the solution. VDOT’s primary focus was to install the solution in a proactive manner before a disaster occurred. With the travel artery’s high traffic counts and freight traffic, the team’s charter was to remediate the site while keeping the interstate open to traffic and the project’s duration as short as possible.
VDOT’s past remediation practices would have involved closing the interstate and diverting traffic while the site was excavated, loose material removed, and buttresses installed. In this case, those practices were not doable. Our innovative, out-of-the-box design/process included the use of slope scaling, crane suspended rockfall barriers, site remote monitoring, and the combination of excavation & rock bolting. The solution’s design was flexible, and allowed our engineering team to adjust the design on-the-fly and meet evolving conditions.
GeoStabilization’s Rockfall Remediation Technicians (RRTs) mobilized and started their remediation work a large and dangerous rockslide that closed Cove Road in Jasper, Georgia. The fallen material occurred in an area of exposed and fractured rock that had already experienced a similar slide a little over eight years ago.