A massive boulder came crashing down onto Route 7 in Chesapeake, Ohio, early Monday morning, closing all four lanes of traffic and causing extensive damage to the road.
The landslide began at around 4:00 a.m. Monday when the Ohio State Highway Patrol said they received a call about small rocks in the road. Then, at around 7:00 a.m., a massive boulder slid onto the highway, causing a significant amount of damage and closing the road to traffic.
No cars were hit by the boulder and there were no reported injuries, but officials say the rock caused so much damage it could take up to two weeks before the road is reopened to traffic.
An excavator has been brought in to begin clearing the debris. Highway crews from several jurisdictions, including Columbus, were brought in to help and officials say they will be working around the clock to get the road cleared and repaired.
— Ohio Dept of Transportation (@ODOT_Statewide) February 27, 2018
Crews from the ODOT Lawrence Co Garage working with a contractor from DGM to remove boulders from SR-7. The westbound lanes could be closed for weeks. pic.twitter.com/D8ottBNS3R
— Matt Bruning (@mbruning81) February 26, 2018
“It will be a lengthy undetermined amount of time to open the roadway, due to the large boulders needing to be removed and then the road will need to be re-built due to it being damaged by the boulders,” Lt. Mike Gore from the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.
An Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) spokesperson said that in addition to clearing the road, crews will need to go up the hillside to clear loose rocks that pose a hazard. Once that task is complete they will begin work on repairing the road and guardrail that were damaged.
The rock slide is being blamed on recent heavy rains in the area. ODOT says rock slides after heavy rains are not uncommon. “We have throughout the state, especially along the Ohio 52 and Ohio 7 corridor, we have areas that are prone to rock slides,” said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for the ODOT in District 9. “We have a certain type of geology and the ways the roads have been built over the years, they are prone to this, but the weather also wreaks havoc.”
Ohio has been rocked by massive floods in recent weeks as a result of heavy rainfall in the area, with this month being the wettest February on record. The Ohio River river crested on Sunday and was still well above flood stage Monday. The river swelled to more than eight feet above flood stage Sunday, the highest it’s been since 1997.
On Sunday Ohio Governor Kasich issued an emergency declaration for 17 counties in the southern and eastern parts of the state. The declaration allows for National Guard troops to be activated if needed. Affected counties include Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Clermont, Columbiana, Gallia, Hamilton, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Monroe, Meigs, Muskingum, Scioto, and Washington.
A massive boulder has come crashing down onto Rt. 7 in Chesapeake, Ohio. This is just before where Rt. 7 turns into Rt….