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Work on Mansion House Hill rock cleanup to begin Oct. 10

Work to begin removing the remnants of a rock slide on the Mansion House Hill between Lehighton and Jim Thorpe will start Oct. 10.

“We have hired a contractor, and anticipate work beginning next Tuesday,” assistant construction engineer John Harmonosky said. “The work is expected to take a little over three weeks.”

The project will include full closures of Route 209 north and south Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. During the full closures, traffic will be detoured on Packerton Dam Road, Hemlock Drive, Route 902, South Ninth Street, Route 443, Route 209, Harrity Road, Fairyland Road, Long Run Road, Maury Road and Route 903.

A single lane will be open on Route 209 north and south weekdays from 2 p.m. to 9 a.m. and from 2 p.m. Friday through 9 a.m. Monday.

“The closures are necessary to protect the public from any rocks that may fall during the scaling work, and provide the contractor space to safely maneuver equipment,” Inspector-in-Charge Calvin Ulshafer said. “We intend to get this work done as safely and quickly as possible.”

Workers will remove fallen rock from the roadway, scale back and remove additional rock from the mountain, install mesh netting to help prevent future rocks from falling, mill and pave Route 209 north in the work area, and perform other ancillary work.

On Sept. 8, multiple large rocks slid off the side of the mountain alongside Route 209 between Race Street and Oak Avenue. A car was damaged but there were no injuries. Since then, the two-lane section of the Mansion House Hill has been reduced to a single lane. When this work is complete the second lane on Route 209 north will reopen.

The section of Route 209 impacted by the rock slide has an average daily traffic volume of 9,814 vehicles.

New Enterprise Stone & Lime Inc. of New Enterprise, Pennsylvania, is the general contractor on the $354,103 emergency project that is expected to be complete by Oct. 27.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials didn’t find a recent advertisement for decorative stone on Craigslist too funny.

The agency responded Monday on social media to an advertisement for the large rocks.

“Attention Carbon County residents, please stay away from the slide area,” PennDOT posted Monday. “Do not attempt to pull rocks. Nobody is authorized to access this area. Please ignore the Craigslist post and any posts that say otherwise.”

The advertisement was labeled “free decorative stone for landscaping” and stated, “please take as much as you want. You must load it yourself. As long as this ad is up, it is available.”

The lane closure is likely to affect traffic for Jim Thorpe’s annual Fall Foliage Festival, which begins this weekend, Oct. 7-8.

One lane of Route 209 remains blocked by boulders on the road. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS