The mining company Tunnel Ridge has recently applied to expand their mining operations to go under major roadways in western parts of Washington County including, but not limited to, the West Alexander and Claysville areas. These major roadways include Interstate 70 (I-70) and the Historic National Road, PA Route 40 (Rt. 40).
Section 1501 of PA Statute Act 54 authorizes a State Mining Commission. This commission is formed when coal mining will occur under lands, easements, and right of ways purchased, condemned, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth. Since I-70 and Rt. 40 are state owned, the State Mining Commission will determine appropriate measures to limit and monitor surface damage.
According to the PA Department of Transportation, in 2021 over 40,000 cars used these exact stretches of I-70 and Rt. 40 every day. That means that every month over 1.3 million vehicles travel through this region on I-70 and Rt. 40.
Tunnel Ridge began mining under Interstate 70 in 2019 and since then there have been lengthy cycles of construction zones and lane restrictions necessitated by the need to repair mining-induced subsidence damage. Generally speaking, construction and lane restrictions increase congestion on highways and therefore increase the risk of accidents.
By signing this petition I am asking the State Mining Commission to provide an opportunity for residents to share their concerns. I ask for the Commission to consider holding a public meeting and/or accept written comments through E-Comment. I also ask that the Commission respond to residents' comments within 90 days of the public meeting or the close of the public comment period. Finally, I ask for the Commission to enable more police presence and require PennDOT to provide increased traffic control and signage in the area impacted by Tunnel Ridge mining.