Rocks let loose, close portion of Route 147 for nearly 7 hours
SUNBURY - A rockslide closed both lanes of Route 147 in the area of Brush Valley Road for nearly seven hours Monday.
Fearing further trouble, authorities used a high-pressure hose from an Americus Hose Company ladder truck to bring down more rock that was hanging precariously from a cliff near the highway. Six tankers were on scene to help pump water from a nearby creek.
Northumberland County 911 Coordinator and Upper Augusta Township Fire Chief William Brown said melting snow over the weekend likely eroded the cliff face and loosened the rocks.
That area of Route 147 just south of the city is prone to frequent slides, as evidenced by a "falling rock" sign along the road.
Emergency units were dispatched at 9:15 a.m. and Route 147 and Brush Valley Road were closed from then until 3:55 p.m.
Brown was impressed by the work of 20 responders from six fire companies on a cold and windy day.
"We got a lot of accomplished in that short amount of time," he said. "Being a week day, it was a bad time, but we had plenty of resources."
PennDOT had Route 147 in Northumberland County closed between Brush Valley Road in Upper Augusta Township and the intersection of South Front and South Second streets near the Valero gas station.
PennDOT trucked away the debris and will address any future work at the site, Brown said.
No one was injured and no vehicles were damaged, he said.
The railroad, which runs parallel to Route 147 across the highway from the rockslide, was closed even though no rocks reached the tracks, Brown said.
Fire companies from Stonington, Lower Augusta Township, Point Township and Good Will from Sunbury and officials from Norfolk Southern Railway responded .
A series of massive rock slides in May 2006 sent approximately 3,500 tons of rock and mud onto Route 147 a few hundred yards north of Monday's slide. That closed the road for more than a week while a rock-fall fence and jersey barriers were installed. They remain in place.
Monday's rockslide was not nearly as large as the one in 2006.