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Mine Subsidence in Ohio

Diary of an Abandoned Underground
Mine Subsidence Remediation:
Jackson County State Route 32

December 1998 Journal

Removing Coal
(Click on photo for larger version.) Kokosing crews continue removing coal.  Today, December 28, is expected to be the last day of excavation.  After today, Kokosing crews are expected to focus on backfilling only  12/28/98 
  
 
Exposed Voids
(Click on photo for larger version.)  What you're seeing is a series of voids with the tops of the voids (mine tunnels) removed. These voids were found in the westbound lanes about 200 feet east of Kisor Road.  The black mounds that remain are the pillars between the mine tunnels.   Each pillar is about 6 feet high and 8 feet wide.  It's about 22 feet between pillars.  The spaces between the pillars are mine tunnels  12/23/98 
  
 
Exposed Tunnels
(Click on photo for larger version.)  This is a different view of the same tunnels pictured above 12/23/98 
  
 
Mine Timbers
(Click on photo for larger version.)  If you look very closely inside this void found underneath the eastbound lanes approximately 250 feet east of Kisor Road, you can see the timbers that support the top of the mine void  12/23/98 
  
 
Soil Backfill
(Click on photo for larger version.)  Backfilling continues in the eastbound lanes at the far eastern end of the project  12/23/98 
  
 
Large Void
(Click on photo for larger version.)  This large void extended underneath the eastbound and westbound lanes of S.R. 32 at the intersection of Kisor Road 12/22/98 
  
 
Excavation
(Click on photo for larger version.)  Kokosing crews continue to excavate in the westbound lanes 12/17/98 
  
 
Coal Excavation
(Click on photo for larger version.)  Kokosing crews excavate coal in the eastbound lanes 12/17 
  
 
Rocky Bauer
(Click on photo for larger version.)  Project inspector Rocky Bauer peers inside one of the voids discovered underneath the westbound lanes at the western end of the project.  See the photograph below to see what Rocky saw inside the void 12/17 
  
 
Timber Mine Ties
(Click on photo for larger version.)  If you look closely at the bottom of the photograph, you can see some old timbers that were used to make rails for the mine carts that the miners used to transport coal in and out of the mines 12/17 
  
 
Backfill to West
(Click on photo for larger version.) This photo shows the view of the eastbound lanes looking toward the west.   This is a portion of the area that Kokosing crews have backfilled 12/15/98 
  
 
Backfill to East
(Click on photo for larger version.) This photo shows the view of the eastbound lanes looking toward the east.   Kokosing crews are continuing to backfill.  You can also see a dump truck hauling away excavated material from the westbound lanes while the trackhoe in the far background excavates in the eastbound lanes  12/15/98 
  
 
Void with Timber
(Click on photo for larger version.) This void was discovered underneath the eastbound lanes.  It's about 4 feet high.  If you look closely at the left side of the void, you can see the timber supporting the top of the mine 12/11/98 
  
 
Trackhoe Excavation
(Click on photo for larger version.)  The roadway started to collapse when Kokosing crews attempted to use a trackhoe to expose a mine void 12/11/98 
 

 
Steve Speakman
(Click on photo for larger version.)  In an attempt to show the relative size of the voids, Jackson County Highway Maintenance Worker Steve Speakman stands next to the void uncovered 12/9 approximately 295 feet east of the start of the project area near County Road 38.  The dump truck above the void is driving on the westbound lanes.  The void extends underneath the eastbound and westbound lanes and the median 12/9/98
 

Big Dozer
(Click on photo for larger version.)  Another size comparison...To the right of the void are a bulldozer, a trackhoe and a dump truck.   If you look very closely, you can see Kokosing employee Guy Waldron standing beside the bulldozer 12/9/98 
  
 
Excavating for Voids
(Click on photo for larger version.)  Crews dig for voids along the shoulder of the westbound lanes 12/4/98 
  
 
Big Trench
(Click on photo for larger version.)  This 18-foot-deep trench is what's left of part of the eastbound berm and driving lane after several days of excavation 12/3/98 
  
 
Beginning Excavation
(Click on photo for larger version.)  Contractor removes pavement to begin excavation of mine voids under highway surface 11/30/98

Thursday, December 31
Kokosing crews are working today despite the snow and the cold temperatures.  They are hauling fill material from a borrow site to fill the excavated area.  Crews are placing fill material throughout the entire project area.  All of the coal has now been excavated and trucked away.
 
  
Wednesday, December 30
A local coal company will be removing the last of the coal today.  After today, crews will be focusing nearly all of their attention on backfilling.  Crews are hauling fill material today from a "borrow site" (a place where fill material is obtained) to fill the excavated area.  Soon, Kokosing crews will be acquiring fill material from a borrow site near County Road 40.  The borrow site is entirely on ODOT right of way.  It's estimated that it will take approximately 136,000 cubic yards of material to fill the excavated area.

Crews will work day shift tomorrow but not night shift.   They will not work Friday, January 1, but will work day shift and night shift from Saturday, January 2, through Saturday, January 9.
 
 
Tuesday, December 29
The major part of the excavation is now complete.  According to ODOT Project Inspector Dave Walton, there's still some coal and rock left to remove.  One trackhoe is being used today to finish up the excavation and to clean up.  Crews are also hauling fill material from a "borrow site" (a place where fill material is obtained) and using it to fill the excavated areas.  Crews are also working to dress up the areas where "waste" (excavated material unsuitable to use as fill) was dumped.  A Kokosing crew has also arrived to begin replacing drainage pipe culverts.

ODOT would like to remind motorists traveling on State Route 32 to abide by the road closure signs and barricades. Some motorists are ignoring the road closure warnings and venturing into the project area as far as County Road 40.  Driving into the project area could pose a danger to motorists.
 
 
Monday, December 28
Kokosing crews returned to the project yesterday morning after a brief holiday break.  They worked day shift and night shift yesterday and are making excellent progress.  According to ODOT Project Inspector Dave Walton, Kokosing crews should complete ALL excavation today.   That's great news!  In addition to excavation, Walton said crews will continue backfilling.  He estimates there's still approximately 100,000 cubic yards of backfilling left to do. 

A Kokosing crew is expected to arrive on the project today to replace the pipe culverts that were removed during the excavation.
 
 
Wednesday, December 23
Kokosing and ODOT crews will be working today, tonight and dayshift tomorrow.  They will not work nightshift tomorrow or at all on December 25 or December 26.  Crews are excavating and backfilling in the westbound lanes.  They are approximately one-third finished excavating in the westbound lanes.  The backfilling operation is following directly behind the excavating operation.  Crews are also removing rock and coal in the eastbound lanes and backfilling in the eastbound lanes at the far eastern end of the project.
 
 
Tuesday, December 22
Kokosing crews are hard at work today despite the cold and snow flurries.  They uncovered more large mine voids yesterday.  These voids extended underneath the eastbound and westbound lanes and were located at the intersection of Kisor Road. 

Today, crews will spend the first half of the day cleaning up mud from the past few days of rain, removing rock and preparing to backfill.  By this afternoon, they may begin to backfill again.

We hope to have some more photos for you sometime today.   Please keep checking this page for updates.
 
 
Monday, December 21
Because it's been raining since Saturday, work has slowed considerably on the project.  Crews didn't work yesterday and only worked eight hours Saturday because of the rain.  Right now, crews are trying to continue removing rock and coal, but it's too wet for soil excavation and backfilling.  The night shift has been called off for tonight because of the bad weather.  ODOT Project Inspector Dave Walton said crews will be back to work tomorrow even if it's cold and snowy.

Kokosing crews are planning to work five days a week throughout the holidays.  They will not work on Christmas Day, December 26, New Year's Day or January 2.  However, they will work the next two Sundays (December 27 and January 3).

We hope to get you some "fun in the mud" photos very soon.
 
 
Friday, December 18
Kokosing crews are continuing to excavate in the eastbound and westbound lanes today.  They are also backfilling in the eastbound lanes.  Crews encountered another void yesterday underneath the westbound lanes toward the western end of the project. 
 
 
Thursday, December 17
Officials from ODOT and Kokosing will have weekly progress meetings to discuss the development of the project.   A project meeting was held this morning, and several interesting statistics were discussed.

*  Kokosing crews have been on the job for 15 working days now.

* So far, 126,887 cubic yards of material have been excavated.  To provide a handy comparison, that's enough material to cover an entire football field from goal line to goal line (300 feet by 160 feet) to a height of 26 1/2 feet.  Wow!

* The excavation is halfway complete.  According to estimates, 250,000 cubic yards of material will be excavated from the 2,750-foot-long project area before the project is complete.

*  The backfilling is 20 percent complete.

*  Approximately 8,260 tons of coal have been excavated

*  As of December 16, the cost of the project has been approximately $912,000.  That cost includes mainly equipment and labor costs but not the cost associated with utility relocation and subcontractor work.  The daily cost of operation, including labor and equipment costs, is estimated at $74,000.

*  If all goes as scheduled, all four lanes within the project area should be excavated and backfilled by January 19, WEATHER PERMITTING.

*  It's estimated that the project will be completed and the route reopened to traffic in late February.

*  The project would have taken at least twice as long if ODOT had not requested that Kokosing work two shifts a day.

Today, Kokosing crews have been excavating in the eastbound and westbound lanes and backfilling in the eastbound lanes.  The eastern limit of the project was established approximately 850 feet east of Kisor Road.

More dramatic photos are on the way...
 
 
Wednesday, December 16
Crews from Kokosing and a local coal company are continuing to remove coal and rock from the eastbound lanes approximately 1,000 feet west of Kisor Road.  Employees from both companies are now working around the clock.  ODOT is being compensated by the coal company for the coal.

The eastern limit of the project still has not been established.  Crews uncovered another mine void approximately 625 feet east of Kisor Road.  Crews are continuing to excavate eastward.  Currently, they are approximately 650 feet east of Kisor Road.
 
 
Tuesday, December 15
Kokosing crews have started excavating in the westbound lanes at the far western end of the project.   Since yesterday, they have excavated 150 feet to the east.  Crews also continue to excavate in the eastbound lanes approximately 650 feet east of Kisor Road on the far eastern end of the project.  The average excavation depth is 20 feet.   However, crews have excavated as far as 25 to 30 feet into the earth to get below the coal seam.  The local coal company is still continuing to remove coal from the eastbound lanes.

Another crew has been backfilling the eastbound lanes and median on the western end of the project just east of County Road 38.  Approximately 700 to 750 feet of the eastbound lanes has been backfilled to the subgrade level.
 
 
Monday, December 14
It was a fairly quiet weekend on the project.  The steady rain slowed operations.  Today, Kokosing crews will continue excavating and backfilling in the eastbound lanes.  The local coal company will continue removing coal and trucking it away.  Crews may begin removing pavement in the westbound lanes late today or tomorrow in preparation for excavation.  More information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.
 
 
Friday, December 11
According to ODOT Project Inspector Dave Walton, a series of voids was uncovered underneath the median at the far eastern end of the project (the same ones mentioned in yesterday's entry), approximately 550 feet east of Kisor Road.  These voids are more extensive than the voids discovered to date.  One is estimated to be eight to 10 feet deep with many tunnels branching off in different directions.  Approximately six to seven voids were discovered within a 250-foot-long stretch of highway.  It's possible to look inside one of the voids and see some of the timbers supporting the mine void.

Kokosing crews are continuing to backfill in the eastbound lanes at the western end of the project.  Currently, they are working on a 700-foot-long section.  ODOT is no longer receiving fill material from the local coal/stone company.  Kokosing is getting fill material that was excavated from the job site.  However, the local coal company is continuing to excavate the coal.

Kokosing crews are also continuing to excavate in the eastbound lanes about halfway between both ends of the project.  They have approximately 800 feet of the eastbound lanes left to excavate.  Kokosing has brought in a larger trackhoe to speed up the process.
 
 
 
Thursday, December 10
Kokosing crews are continuing to excavate and backfill in the eastbound lanes of S.R. 32 today.  One crew is excavating in the eastbound lanes at the far eastern end of the project near the Kisor Road intersection.  Another crew is excavating in the eastbound lanes in the center of the project area.  The third crew is backfilling in the eastbound lanes on the western end of the project near County Road 38.  Crews are using blue shale as fill material.  Please check out the photos we posted today.  They show the large void that extends underneath the eastbound and westbound lanes and the median at the western end of the project.  Starting tomorrow, Kokosing crews will be backfilling around the clock.

News Bulletin:  Five voids were discovered today at the far eastern end of the project within a distance of 250 feet.   The voids extend underneath the eastbound lanes.  More photos on the way.
 
 
Wednesday, December 9
Today should be a busy day on the project.  Some Kokosing crews are going to continue excavating in the eastbound lanes.  According to ODOT Jackson County Manager Mike Kinnison, they are about halfway done excavating the eastbound berm, passing lane, driving lane and the median.  Excavation has not started in the westbound lanes.  Other Kokosing crews are expected to begin backfilling today.  They will be backfilling in the eastbound lanes from the west toward the east.  Blue shale from a local coal/stone company will be used for fill.  Currently, ODOT is trading one ton of coal from the excavated area for a little more than two tons of shale from the company.

NEWS BULLETIN:  A large void was uncovered today that extends below the eastbound and westbound lanes and under the median.  The void is located approximately 295 feet east of the start of the project area near County Road 38.  Good photos should be available soon.  The digital camera arrived on the project today.
 
 
Tuesday, December 8
Kokosing crews are continuing to work today even though the rain hasn't stopped.  According to ODOT project officials, the rain has slowed progress, but Kokosing crews are continuing to work eastward in the eastbound lanes.  They are removing dirt and rock from the eastbound berm and driving lane.  As soon as tomorrow night or Thursday, weather permitting, Kokosing crews may return to the western end of the project to begin backfilling the eastbound berm and driving lane.
 
 
Monday, December 7
Throughout the day Saturday, Kokosing crews continued removing dirt and rock in the eastbound lanes.  Three trackhoes are now in use at the project.  One of the trackhoes fell into one of the mine voids Saturday.  Although it took a little maneuvering, contractors were soon able to get it out and back to work excavating.  Crews are removing the overburden, dirt and rock, above the mine shafts leaving behind a layer of coal.  A local coal company is working behind the trackhoes removing the coal, which eases the burden on the contractor.  This week, crews will continue to work their way eastward in the eastbound lanes removing overburden.  Kokosing is working today despite the rain.

 
 
 
Friday, December 4
Yesterday, the ODOT drilling crew discovered another void approximately 300 feet east of Kisor Road.  Kisor Road had been the eastern limit of the project area.  The top of the void is estimated to be approximately 11 feet underneath the surface of the roadway.  The void is approximately 7 feet deep.  Because Kokosing crews will have to excavate and fill the void, the project area was extended by another 300 to 500 feet to the east, and Kisor Road was closed to traffic.  ODOT officials now estimate that the project area will extend from ditch line to ditch line for approximately 2,300 to 2,500 feet.  Because of this newly discovered void, the road may have to be closed longer than the original estimate of eight to 10 weeks.  The good news is that the eastern end of the project area has been established.  ODOT has evidence of strip mining 500 feet east of Kisor Road.  The strip mined land is not expected to contain voids.  Today, crews are expected to continue excavating in the eastbound lanes.

This afternoon, several large caverns were discovered underneath the eastbound lanes.  We can see that at least one of them extends under the median and the westbound lanes.  Photos are coming!
 
 
Thursday, December 3
Today, the contractor is continuing to excavate in the eastbound lanes.  The berm and driving lane have been excavated within the 500-foot section where excavation began.  Last night, pavement was removed from approximately 200 to 300 feet of pavement in the eastbound lanes east of the 500-foot section.  Last night, the seventh mine void was discovered.  As of now, the trenches created during the excavation and the voids uncovered during the excavation have not been refilled.  Filling probably will not begin until next week.  So far, 10,000 yards of material have been excavated.

November 1998:
State Route 32
in Jackson County closed due to underground mine voids! 

Project Location Map
Click on the image above to access a larger map detailing the location and the detour route.

Monthly Journals:
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998