District 10 begins state-of-the-art mine exploration
process below U.S. 33 near Athens
In an effort to keep southeastern Ohio highways safe, ODOT District 10 is beginning a first-of-its-kind abandoned mine exploration project under U.S. Route 33 in Athens County.
“Unfortunately, abandoned mines are just something that we live with in southeast Ohio,” said ODOT District 10 Deputy Director Steve Williams. “This is why we have an aggressive monitoring program in place to keep our highways safe.”
This state-of-the-art mine exploration project is a four phase process using advanced equipment never before used in District 10.
“This is a very exciting project,” said District Geotechnical Engineer Andy Moreland. “Its results will impact the way we monitor and capture data on mine voids in the future.”
The first phase includes using a radar-like device which penetrates through the pavement creating a digital map of the area below the roadway. This detailed map is critical to phase two, which involves placing soil borings along the road way to confirm the locations of the voids found in phase one.
Phase three involves using sonar scanning which produces a 3-D map inside of the mine. Finally, phase four seals the boreholes and includes a final report with recommendations for mitigation.
Last year District 10 engineers noticed unexpected movement of the subsurface on US 33 near Glen Ebon Road. Since then, the District has been monitoring the area while working on developing this unique exploratory project. Once the project is complete, ODOT engineers will have a better understanding of cause of the movement and ultimately a long-term solution.
Damage to Ohio highways due to subsidence or collapse of mine voids is a serious problem, especially in southeast Ohio where its landscape is littered with old abandoned mines. In fact, ODOT spent millions of dollars on mine mitigation for the Nelsonville Bypass.
The first phase begins July 14 through July 25, with consecutive phases continuing into November. Motorists can expect lane closures throughout the project.