WNYT.com

NYS DOT not ready to say what caused massive rock slide in Fort Ann

Posted at: 10/16/2012 5:48 PM
Updated at: 10/16/2012 6:26 PM
By: Mark Mulholland

FORT ANN - The long, hard job of breaking and hauling rock is nearly done. Excavators have been at it since late Monday morning.

Cracking and picking up giant chunks of the cliff that crashed onto Route 4 about a mile south of Route 22.
   
Nearly 36 hours after the rock slide that closed the highway, the State Department of Transportation doesn't know what caused it.
 
"That's really almost secondary at this point to getting this road open safely," said Bryan Viggiani, spokesman for the NYS Department of Transportation.
 
State geologists climbed up to the top of the existing rock cliff Tuesday afternoon to assess its stability.
   
What they found will determine when the road will re-open. If it's stable, the traffic will begin flowing soon. But if there's danger of more falling, crews will chip away more of the cliff.
 
"Best case scenario to have it open now. It's really going to be determined by how much more they need to remove."
   
The two-hundred foot rock slide sits adjacent to two rock quarries. Some wonder if blasting at the quarries played a role in the slide, but this neighbor says she hasn't heard or felt any blasts.
 
But Elsie Oriel, the neighbor closest to the slide, says she hasn't felt blasts from the quarries in a couple of years.
 
Until the state geologists have finished their work, a roughly five-mile section of Route 4 remains closed between Route 149 and Route 22.
 
Two vehicles were allowed to pass through Tuesday morning. Trucks hauling oversize loads that had been stranded here since Monday.
 
They were too big to take the detour.