Work starts on wall to protect Pittsburgh rail line

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Norfolk Southern Railway has begun building a retaining wall along its tracks beneath the Mount Washington hillside that gave way last month, burying the rail line.

Spokesman David Pidgeon said the wall will be 320 feet long and take about three weeks to complete. Crews were on the site, adjacent to the Duquesne Incline, erecting piles and moving earth this week.

A section of hillside the length of a football field tore loose on April 8, sending a massive amount of mud and trees across the tracks, which run parallel to West Carson Street.

No one was injured. Freight traffic was interrupted for several hours while Norfolk Southern and city crews cleared the tracks.

Heavy rain that preceded the slide may have saturated the soil and weakened the hillside, an engineer for the city said.

Mr. Pidgeon said the railroad would not comment about the cost of the damage and the retaining wall or whether it would seek reimbursement from the city, which owns the hillside.

A spokesman for the city's Bureau of Building Inspection said the agency is continuing to work with property owners of structures located on Grandview Avenue above the slide. None of the engineering reports submitted on behalf of those buildings has indicated there are any structural issues.

Jon Schmitz: or 412-263-1868.

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