Landslide still collapsing Missouri's Highway 79

There has been movement on Highway 79 near Ashburn in Pike County, Missouri, but not the type of movement anyone wants to see.

A section of that roadway has been closed since it collapsed after a landslide in November.

Specialists from the Missouri Department of Transportation were at the scene of the collapse again this morning.

KHQA's Jarod Wells show you what they found.

MoDOT Senior Geotechnical Specialist Lydia Brownell said, "The slides still moving, it's obvious. You can see we have pieces of the roadway that are coming back, we have tension cracks in the existing roadway that's still in tact."

The section of Missouri Highway 79 went from being a crack to collapsing late last year. As Lydia Brownell with MoDOT just said, the landslide that caused the collapse is still moving. And there are several other landslides in the same area.

Brownell said, "We are constantly monitoring those, we keep those monitored about every two months. We're using inclinometers to measure movement in the hillsides on those."

An inclinometer is an instrument used for measuring angles of slope, elevation or inclination of an object, in this case the hillside under Highway 79

It is possible for MoDOT to stop the landslide from collapsing Highway 79 again. But that would mean a lot of digging and back-filling with stone to protect the road. The other option MoDOT is considering is realigning the highway to run through the bottoms near the Salt River.

Brownell said, "We've done a lot of work on the proposed alignment that we have. We've done drilling for it, for the geotechnical aspect of it. We're also looking at environmental impacts, cultural impacts and our property owners that we're also impacting."

MoDOT Geotechnical specialist Lydia Brownell was at the site Friday, testing soil in the area. MoDOT has been testing the ground near the proposed realignment to see if that area would have similar problems to the current location of Highway 79.

Brownell said, "We're looking at both options right now, which is why we continue to monitor the existing slides that we do have and we are also looking at the new proposed alignment and we are trying to evaluate which is the best option to do, which is the safest."

There are barriers to keep traffic and people away from the collapsed roadbed. If you're in that area, stay behind the barriers that have been installed for your own safety.

Brownell said, "You just never know what it might move. It's also starting to undercut underneath the roadway. It's really not a good idea to come up here."

MoDOT will continue to study both options to find out which will be the safest and the most cost efficient.

Brownell says MoDOT should finish up those studies and decide what should be done no later than the beginning of summer.

Detour near Ashburn

North of Route 79 " Pike County

-Detour on Route T to Route V west to New London to Route 61.

South of Route 79 " Pike County

-Detour on Route B west to Route 61 near Frankford.

Ted Shanks Conservation Area - Visitors should be able to travel into the refuge as normal.

-Road closed from just south of Route TT to just north of Pike Co. Rd. 114 approximately 2 miles north of Route B.

Click here for a detailed map.