Crumbling Earth: Tennessee uses military equipment to nail mountainside together to prevent a massive landslide

MAY 9, 2012TENNESSEETDOT has shut down all but one northbound lane of Interstate 75 between mile markers 141 and 144 in Campbell County. The earliest any southbound lanes will reopen is Thursday. The shut down comes because the embankment that collapsed beneath I-75 South on March 8 has now grown to threaten the median and northbound lanes. TDOT brought in the big gun to defend I-75 North by hiring an emergency repair contractor from Grand Junction, Colorado. “Myself and my crew got a call yesterday [Monday] and we arrived late last night,” said Nate Beard, vice president and engineer with Soil Nail Launcher, Inc. Beard’s crews will battle a beast of a mountainside with an oversized air gun originally built by the British military. “It is a big compressed air launcher that would launch nerve gas canisters up to seven miles,” said Beard. “It has been modified to launch soil nails, which is a 20 foot long, 1.5 inch diameter steel tube. We build that compressed air up to 3000 PSI, pull the trigger, and then it accelerates into the ground at 250 miles per hour.” In Campbell County, soil nail launcher crews are taking aim at a moving target. “The big challenge here is it is an actively moving landslide. I walked across this road at midnight and at 2:00 in the morning all of that material had fallen down to the bottom of the slope,” said Beard. “Our top priority is protecting the northbound lanes. We’ll launch around 300 soil nails.  We’ll put them in a really tight spacing. It works with the soil particles to confine them and create a beam effect, which then supports the interstate. It takes a lot of those loading and driving forces off the landslide.” Beard said crews should finish nailing the northbound lanes by Wednesday morning.  Then they will hammer away at the southbound lanes with even larger soil nails. “The south lanes can use nails that are 50 to 60 feet long and two inches in diameter,” said Beard. “You drive along these roads and they are perfect and they are flat, but they are on the edge of a cliff. A lot of people take that for granted, but the fact is there are frequently things like launched soil nails beneath the roads to keep them secure and stable.” –WBIR 10 News
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, High-risk potential hazard zone, Landslide & geological deformation, Seismic tremors. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Crumbling Earth: Tennessee uses military equipment to nail mountainside together to prevent a massive landslide

  1. That means PREVENTIVE MEASURE…..Good job guys……..


  2. Irene C says:

    I used to travel along this route many times when I traveled from Ohio to Georgia. It’s beautiful there. But I guess this is what happens when you build an interstate on the side of a mountain. I’ve seen plenty of lanes closed due to landslides. So thankful I was never in the path of one of those landslides.


  3. Rob says:

    Well isn’t that reasuring 😐


  4. Columbine says:

    I’m always surprised while driving major highways in the Colorado mountains to see how often these nails are used in the rocks on either side now. I’ve also witnessed twice in the past, before this was common, big boulders rolling off or whole sides of rock faces collapsing onto Highway 24. One included the front end of a small red car directly under where the boulder landed, squashed flat. I’m glad they have some way to help stablize the ground now even if those metal rods are not all that asthetically pretty. The land beneath our feet is always moving – quaking, eroding, inflating, changing. Even insects, worms and tree roots change and move it all the time. We’re just so busy moving ourselves that we usually don’t notice it until something major happens.


  5. Carla Burgers says:

    $$$ and convenience speak again , instead of building a structural secure Interstate they think to fight nature by putting some match-sticks in the ground!


  6. tellthetruth1 says:

    It scares the living daylights out of me, just reading this. I do hope they can pull it off. Fancy turning up that late at night. Some people have more courage than can be measured.


    • The extraordinary measures now used to hold the planet together is the clearest testament now to just how much it’s falling apart…


      • Randy Gordon says:

        This is not unusual and happens most often when the engineers put the road in the wrong place. In Mid 70’s Interstate 81 South and North were affected by the Tinker Mountain slide near Roanoke, VA. I would bet a Geologist told them this might happen and they simply hoped it would not….”hope is not a method.”


  7. Mark Taylor says:

    Driven past this spot twice in the last month. They’ve got a herculean task on their hands. The side of the mountain has broken off and is still breaking off. The nail gun is effective, but they’re still battling a forest fire with a garden hose. The outcome is still in doubt.

    If 75 is “broken” here it will be a huge commerce and traffic issue. The surrounding state roads are not big enough to deal with this volume traffic. So a prolonged outage would have major consequences.


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