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Mine Subsidence in Ohio

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

January 1999 Journal

Trucks with Stone
(Click on photo for larger version.) Stone is being brought in to bring the project up to subgrade 1/26/98 
  
 
Stone Fill
(Click on photo for larger version.) Another shot of the stone being trucked in to bring the project up to subgrade 1/26/98 
  
 
Rutted Mud Waste
(Click on photo for larger version.) This photo was taken at one of the "waste" sites, an area where unfit fill material is dumped.  To give you an idea of how deep those muddy ruts really are, the peak of one of the ruts would hit the average-sized person at around knee level  1/25/99 
  
 
Removing Mud
(Click on photo for larger version.) Kokosing crews spent this morning (1/25) removing muddy fill material.   A layer of gravel will be placed on top of the fill material, which will allow crews to resume the filling operation. 
  
 
Mud!
(Click on photo for larger version.) Now that's a lot of mud!  This photo was taken this morning (1/25) approximately 200 feet east of the western end of the project.  The bulldozer is on top of what will be the westbound lanes.  The dump truck carrying rock is on top of what will be the eastbound lanes.   
  
 
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

Friday, January 29
Kokosing crews are working on the underdrains again today.  They will be cutting the trenches for the underdrains.  Four trenches will be made, one at the outside edge of each berm.   Crews are also working to level the subgrade.  Currently, it looks like crews are going to begin putting down the concrete driving surface February 10.  Naturally, bad weather could cause delays.

All night-shift work is now over on the project.   However, crews will be working during the day tomorrow and possibly Sunday in order to keep the project on schedule and to make good use of the moderate weather that's in the forecast.
 
 
Thursday, January 28
Good news to report!   Kokosing crews have been making tremendous progress on the project over the past few days.  The entire project is up to subgrade level.  Crews will be working on installing the underdrains today, tomorrow and Saturday.  By the middle of next week, project officials should have a clearer idea of when crews will begin putting down the concrete driving surface.  Let's just hope the weather holds out.
 
 
Wednesday, January 27
If the weather stays relatively cooperative, it looks as if the project will be up to subgrade sometime this Friday.  Once the road is at subgrade, Kokosing crews will begin installing the underdrains, which are necessary to keep water from collecting under the roadway.   Then six inches of a tight-packing gravel material will be applied to the project area.  This tight-packing gravel will serve as a level base for the concrete pavement that will serve as the driving surface.  By February 8, crews should be ready to start pouring the concrete pavement, weather permitting.  ODOT and Kokosing are still shooting for a late February or early March completion date.
 
 
Tuesday, January 26
Crews are working fast and furiously today on the project.  Stone is being hauled from both ends of the project from two different stone suppliers, and Kokosing crews are retrieving fill material from the borrow sites.  The fill material is being used to bring the project nearly up to subgrade.  The stone is being used to cap off the fill, which will bring the project to subgrade level.  Good weather is forecast for today and tomorrow, so crews should be able to make considerable progress.
 
 
Monday, January 25
Kokosing crews are back on the job again after more than a week's delay due to bad weather.  Crews are removing mud from the excavated area.  Sometime today they may begin placing a layer of gravel over the fill dirt that has already been placed.  If dry weather continues, crews will resume hauling dirt from the borrow sites to continue filling the excavated area.   According to ODOT Project Inspector Dave Walton, the entire project area may be up to subgrade by the end of this week.  Kokosing crews will resume working two shifts.

I know it's been a long time, but the promised photos are here.  Check out those muddy shots at left!
 
 
Friday, January 22
As planned, the project remains suspended until Monday.  A press release will be issued today to inform the public about the issues discussed at yesterday's progress meeting.
 
 
Thursday, January 21--12:30 p.m.
The progress meeting was held this morning.  Unfortunately, many issues remain up in the air because of the weather.  Following are some of the issues that were discussed:

*  The project has been suspended until Monday, January 25, because of the wet weather.

*  Crews will be back on the job Monday whether it's raining or not.  To get started, they will place a layer of gravel over the fill material that has already been placed.  The gravel measures approximately two to three inches in diameter.  Although dirt cannot be used as fill material during rainy weather, stone can be used.

*  If the weather breaks, crews will begin using material from the borrow sites once again.  If the rain continues, they will continue to use gravel.  Although gravel is more expensive, it will allow the crews to make progress on the project despite the rain.

*  It's estimated that the road will be filled to the subgrade level within two weeks.

*  ODOT and Kokosing are still striving to get the project completed by the end of February.  However, the completion date will largely depend on the weather.
 
 
Thursday, January 21
Crews are not working this morning because of the wet weather.  A progress meeting is being held this morning in Jackson County to discuss the status of the project.  More information will be available this afternoon.
 
 
Tuesday, January 19
Crews did not work yesterday and will not work today because of the muddy, wet conditions.  In fact, crews aren't expected to work at all this week because of all of the rain in the forecast.  However, it will be decided on a day-to-day basis whether crews work. 

Although it's a mild, sunny day today, crews would likely have to spend the whole day removing mud from the excavated areas.  By tonight, it's expected to rain again, which would void all of the work the crews would have done.

Stay posted for more information.  By the way, last week's progress meeting was cancelled because of bad weather.
 
 
Friday, January 15
Work on the project has been suspended until Monday, January 18, because of the weather.
 
 
Thursday, January 14
Crews are not working today because of the inclement weather.  They are expected to return to work tomorrow, January 15.
 
 
Wednesday, January 13
Crews will be filling today if weather permits.  Crews may stop working if the rain gets too heavy.  Crews have been filling small sections at at time.  To do that, they have had to go from one end of the project to another.  Crews are still making some progress despite the recent bad weather.  They may work this weekend because the weather is supposed to be good.  More updates to come...
 
 
Tuesday, January 12
It's still slow going on the project because of the weather.  The temperatures have moderated, but it looks like we are going to get rain instead of snow.  According to ODOT Project Inspector Dave Walton, crews are working on filling very short expanses.  Crews can no longer work on filling longer sections because it's inefficient to have to spend a long amount of time clearing away snow, ice, slush, mud, etc. before they can actually begin filling.   If they work on only short sections at a time, the time spent "cleaning up" the site to prepare for filling is minimized.

Thursday, January 14
Kokosing crews and ODOT officials are scheduled to have their weekly progress meeting.  The revised project schedule is expected to be discussed at this meeting.  The project and the road closure may extend past the end of February because of weather delays.  Bad weather has plagued the project for the past seven days.
 
 
Monday, January 11
Kokosing crews are returning to the project today.  The entire project is coated with ice.  During the past week or so the snow and ice has melted and refrozen making conditions on the project extremely icy.  According to ODOT Project Inspector Dave Walton, crews will likely spend all day cleaning up the mess Mother Nature left behind.  First, they will have to remove the layers of ice.  Then they will have to remove several inches of the fill material that has already been put into place because it is frozen.   Frozen material has to be removed because it will create problems later.  When the ground temperature rises above freezing, the ice in the material melts, which causes the material to turn to mud.  As a result, proper compaction of the material cannot be obtained.  According to Walton, the filling operation is not likely to resume until night shift tonight, weather permitting.
 
 
Friday, January 8
Because of bad weather, work on the project has been suspended until Monday, January 11.
 
 
Thursday, January 7
The cold and snowy weather has continued to slow down progress on the project.  Yesterday and today, crews had to remove snow and ice from the fill material that has already been placed before resuming the filling operation.  Kokosing crews were scheduled to begin taking fill material from a second ODOT right-of-way borrow site.  This site is located on the south side of State Route 32 at the intersection of County Road 40.  It is directly across the road from the first ODOT right-of-way borrow site.  That site was exhausted, requiring the opening of a new borrow site.  In addition to providing fill material for the project, the first borrow site has been beneficial for another reason.   During the process of removing fill material from the borrow site, a hill was completely removed.  As a result, sight distance has been improved for motorists at the intersection of State Route 32 and County Road 40.  Every cloud really does have a silver lining.

According to ODOT project inspector Dave Walton, Kokosing crews are approximately 70 percent done filling.  More information is on the way.
 
 
Tuesday, January 5
Today's schedule is pretty similar to yesterday's.  Kokosing crews will continue removing the top eight inches of fill material already put into place.  The material has to be removed because it is frozen, making it unsuitable as fill material.  Once the frozen material is removed from a section of the project area, crews will resume the filling operation.   They will continue to get their fill material from two borrow sites--one on ODOT right of way and the other on private property.

While talking with one of the ODOT project inspectors this morning, I asked him how the extremely cold temperatures were impacting the project.   He said the cold weather has slowed progress considerably.  The cold is especially hard on the equipment.  Even so, he said crews are approximately 65 percent done filling.  I also asked him to take some pictures of the filling operation (if he can get the digital camera to work in such cold weather).  Stay tuned for more photos!

By the way, I will not be at work tomorrow to update this journal, so the next journal entry will not be until Thursday, January 7.  Please don't stop checking in for more progress on the project.
 
 
Monday, January 4
The recent cold and snowy weather has certainly slowed progress on the project.  Crews did not work Saturday and Sunday because of the weather.  When they returned to the project today, they found that the entire project was covered by about one inch of ice.  This morning, crews started removing the top eight inches of fill material inside the excavated areas to get rid of the ice.  They will then resume the filling operation.  Kokosing crews are still taking fill material from an ODOT right-of-way borrow site and a borrow site on private property.

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