WJTV News Channel 12 - South Peak wall collapse caused by storm water pipe

South Peak wall collapse caused by storm water pipe

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(story has been updated with information from Roanoke County and the project engineer)

We are continuing to follow the South Peak Development wall collapse that happened Saturday, shutting down traffic along US 220. No one was hurt.

The project engineer Mike Circeo with Circeo Geotech says the wall collapsed because of a storm water pipe that was leaking. The water forced the wall out but he says it's more of a cosmetic issue than a structural one.

"The wall itself I think is designed to withstand a certain amount of water that seeps in behind it but when you have a concentrated flow like this there really isn't any way to plan for that. You just need to make sure that work is being done properly so they don't continue to lose water outside the pipe," said Circeo who has been with the project since the beginning.

Engineers, developers and inspectors from Roanoke County and the project have been at the site since Saturday afternoon when this all happened.

Right now Roanoke County tells us they are waiting for a written report from the engineer but says drivers shouldn't worry.

"Certainly it looks like a safety issue but this right now is an active site, meaning construction will continue to take place. that issue it's just the cost of doing business it can be repaired," said Tarek Moneir, the Roanoke County Deputy Director of Development Services who oversees engineering for the county.

Cireco says there could be other pipes affected. There are eight retaining walls and storm pipes between most of the walls. Each pipe will have to be inspected. Cireco says the only way to do that is by a camera. The pipes are all buried six to twenty feet in the ground. If other pipes need to be repaired they can put in a pipe liner instead of digging up the wall.

"The site's been inspected both by the public and private sector. The walls have been engineered. It's an unfortunate event, things like this happen but the only thing that you can do is fix it and move on," said Hunter Smith, the president of Smith/Packett, the South Peak developer.

We've requested inspection reports but haven't received them yet. Meanwhile Roanoke County tells us to their knowledge nothing ever came up as an issue in past reports.


Smith/Packett provided the following update Monday morning regarding thee retaining wall:

"A thorough investigation by engineers over the weekend determined that a small section of the retaining wall gave way as a result of a storm water pipe. Pressure from the water in the storm drain pushed onto the block, causing the facade of the wall to be pushed out. Engineers determined there is no structural issues with the South Peak retaining walls.

As a precaution, a safety fence has been constructed at the bottom of the slope to protect motorists along U.S. 220. The area is secure.

Repairs and clean-up have begun and are expected to be completed within two weeks. This will not impact construction of the Hilton Garden Inn now under way above the wall.

Smith/Packett is committed to doing all that is necessary to maintain a safe and functional development and we will continue to carefully monitor the retaining wall as well as the rest of the construction at South Peak. It's possible a small amount of already impacted debris may come loose during this week's forecast rain, though the effect is expected to be minimal."



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