PennDOT investigating mine collapse

NORTH BEAVER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WKBN) – A road in Lawrence County is closed until the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation gets a report from a coal company.

Barriers and Road Closed signs are erected on a section of Mount Jackson Road in North Beaver Township. The closure is a safety precaution for drivers after a farmer’s field dropped down a few feet.

An active mine close to Route 108 was found to have mine subsidence,” said Penn Dot Spokesperson Steve Cowan. “Part of the farmer’s field close to Route 108 dropped approximately four feet.”

According to PennDot, mine subsidence is movement of ground surface as a result of readjustments of the overburden due to collapse or failure of underground mine workings. Surface subsidence features usually take the form of either sinkholes or troughs.

PennDOT doesn’t know how significant the collapse is right now. East Fairfield Coal Company is taking the lead to determine repairs and is compiling a report for the state.

“My understanding is that because it is an open mine, part of the roof of the mine collapsed,” said Cowan.

A sinkhole was created by the collapsed roof in the nearby field. The road is closed as a precaution until Penn Dot receives the full report.

“They do have geologists and individuals from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health monitoring the subsidence,” said Cowan. “Once they determine what repairs are necessary, our geo-technical and maintenance units at PennDot will review the plans.”

Calls placed to East Fairfield Coal Company were not immediately returned.

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