Crews continue pounding away at boulder on U.S. 52

Published 5:31 pm Saturday, April 11, 2015

Nearly 40 percent of rock removed as work progresses


Using track hoes and jackhammers, Ohio Department of Transportation and DGM, Inc. crews continue to pound away at a 1,500-ton boulder that slid onto U.S. 52 in Lawrence County during the early morning hours yesterday.

At approximately 2 a.m. Friday, a boulder landed in the westbound lanes near Township Road 268 (Crabtree Hollow Road), just east of the Ashland, Ky. twin bridges near Coal Grove. While all four lanes of the highway were closed during the overnight and early morning hours, ODOT crews were able to clear the eastbound lanes, reopening U.S. 52 East to one lane of traffic yesterday morning.

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Cleanup efforts by ODOT’s Lawrence County maintenance crews began immediately, and ODOT extended an existing contract with DGM, Inc. to remove the rock from the roadway. With additional equipment brought in, crews have been working continuously since operations began.

Measuring approximately 20x20x50-feet at the start, the rock has been reduced nearly 40 percent thus far, and crews have hauled away 42 loads of broken rock weighing nearly 340 tons. While monitoring their progress and overall operations, department officials continue to assess the situation to determine if any changes to the course of action are warranted.

“Given the conditions of the rock’s composition, its scale and its location on the road, this continues to be the most prudent method to dismantle the boulder and clear it from the road,” said ODOT District 9 Deputy Director Vaughn Wilson.

Once the rock has been cleared, ODOT will repair the damaged pavement prior to opening the route to traffic. The duration of closure is still unknown, and while U.S. 52 West is closed, motorists will be detoured via the 17th Street (U.S. 52) bridge at Huntington, West Virginia, to I-64 and U.S. 23 in Kentucky to the 12th/13th Street twin bridges at Ashland, Ky.

For safety purposes, eastbound U.S. 52 will be restricted to one lane while cleanup efforts are under way.

For photos of operations at the site, visit ODOT District 9’s Facebook page at ODOT Southern Ohio,, and for additional information on lane and road closures caused by construction, accidents, flooding or other related traffic events throughout the state, visit ODOT’s website at