Rerouted traffic from Ohio 60 strains local roads

52,000 cubic yards of unstable material removed

While some debris was cleared over the weekend on Ohio 60, local roads felt some of the rerouted strain as residents tried to avoid the one-lane delays just past 8490 State Route 60, north of Devola and a mile south of Lowell.

“Of course that landslide is ODOT”s baby and they tried to direct people to the other state highways and keep the heavy traffic off the rural roads,” said Muskingum Township Trustee Ken Schilling Monday.

Between Arend’s Ridge Road and Bear Creek Road, the state route saw a landslip early Friday morning which has affected work traffic to and from the Lowell area and Marietta area and those traveling along the state route.

ODOT directed truck traffic out to Barlow on 550 to get up through Beverly and avoid the delays.

“But the rural roads did get stressed more,” reported Schilling. “Of course residents who know their back ways into Marietta used the township and county routes–but we got lucky it seems the routes they took, we’re not already having major slips along Highland Creek. We have eight to 10 slips in the township but not between the main thoroughfares from Lowell to Marietta.”

ODOT Public Information Officer Ashley Rittenhouse said the northbound lane opposite the riverside will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

“Our engineers assessed the landslide this morning and determined that at this time, it’s not safe to re-open the northbound lane. There are still trees and dirt moving on the hillside which have the potential to end up in the roadway,” she said. “Fortunately, the pavement has not been impacted by this landslide.”

Traffic is being maintained with temporary signals at both ends of the slip, but Monday’s downpour saw more mud enter the roadway.

“We are working with our consultant to determine the best fix for the landslide, and we will be selling a project to a contractor as soon as possible,” added Rittenhouse. “We appreciate the public’s patience as we work towards a fix at this location. Drivers are advised to give themselves extra time to sit at the signal.”

Schilling said other traffic has moved across the Muskingum River at Lowell and headed south through the western riverbank until reaching Washington Street Bridge or Putnam Bridge in Marietta.

Rittenhouse said the most recent landslide is not the only one on ODOT’s plate after constant rains since the 2017-18 winter–a reoccurring problem at the township and county roads levels as well.

On Ohio 7 between Newport and New Matamoras construction still continues on another such slip.

“A total of 52,000 cubic yards of unstable soil and excavated rock has been removed from the site of the landslide on State Route 7,” said Rittenhouse. “The contractor still has to complete drainage work, resurfacing, striping and seeding. The overall estimated completion date is the end of August.”