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City monitoring 18 neighborhoods for possible landslides

PITTSBURGH — Changing temperatures and heavy rain have Pittsburghers worried about landslides.

"We monitor the streets that we know are on these vulnerable slope areas,” said Karina Ricks, director of the city Department of Infrastructure and Mobility. “Oftentimes, there's really not a whole lot you can do about this in advance."

So far this year, a dozen city neighborhoods have been impacted by landslides. 11 Investigates found out city leaders are closely monitoring 18 areas considered vulnerable, including Troy Hill, Spring Garden, Mt. Washington, the West End and Duquesne Heights.

In a one-on-one interview, Ricks said the activity led to re-evaluation within the department.

“This has been an unusual year,” she said. “There's no reason to believe this will be a recurring event. But we do see climate change occurring and it's something we do need to anticipate and start putting better systems in place for.”

Currently, the city uses street maintenance reports and resident complaints to determine which hillsides are in danger of sliding. But they're now working with Carnegie Mellon University to develop new technology to help predict the next slide.


It will take planning and money to solve, and the city created a landslide task force.

“We don't have the capital resources that we would like to be able to mitigate what has happened, much less invest in those technologies moving forward,” Ricks said. “I think the work of this task force will really help in that regard.”