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Crews begin repairs on South Peak retaining wall

By David Kaplan, dkaplan@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jan 11 2014 03:15:20 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 06:17:31 PM EST

Engineers are not 100 percent sure, but they think the wall has been broken for a while now. They believe the rain last Saturday was the final straw.

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va -

Repairs are well underway to fix  the retaining wall at South Peak.

Crews spent Thursday digging dirt and bricks from the area.

Part of the retaining wall came tumbling down over the weekend due to a storm water pipe problem.

According to Roanoke County, crews will have to keep digging until they hit solid ground and then they can lay the brick again. It's expected to take less than two weeks to fix it.

Meanwhile, Roanoke County staff and engineers are trying to figure out a paperwork discrepancy on the project.

Both agree the final report on the wall was never submitted to the county. South Peak plans to file that report once the repairs are finished.

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A storm water pipe caused a wall to collapse Saturday at the South Peak development in Roanoke County, according to the developer.

"The water issue is always a problem with the retaining walls, so it's important that we inspect the storm pipes that have been already installed to make sure they're not leaking," said Mike Circeo, the engineer responsible for the retaining wall.

The developer, Smith/Packett, says pressure from water in the storm drain storm drain pushed onto the block, which caused the facade to be pushed out. Engineers determined that there are no structural issues with South Peak’s retaining walls, according to Smith/Packett.

"Right now the site is secure, the wall is sound, so I'm not anticipating any other types of problems," Hunter Smith with Smith/Packett said.

A safety fence is being built at the bottom of the hill to protect drivers on U.S. Route 220.

Repairs and clean-up are expected to take two weeks. The repairs will not impact construction of the Hilton Garden Inn that is being done above the wall.

Smith/Packett says that it’s possible that a small amount of debris may come loose during rain this week, but they expect the impact to be minimal.

Here is the full statement about the cause of the wall collapse:

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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Engineers in the private and public sector are still trying to figure out what caused a wall to collapse in Roanoke County.

Roanoke County officials were forced to shut down parts of Routes 220 and 419 near Tanglewood Mall Saturday, following the collapse of a retaining wall at the South Peak development.

Callers told police that they saw rocks falling on the roadway.

WDBJ 7 spoke with witnesses Sunday.

"Never really seen anything like that so to be where it was when it happened it was pretty interesting," said Jessica Wade.

Wade witnessed the collapse Saturday as she was having lunch at the iHop across the street from South Peak.

"All of a sudden everyone gasped and turn around and look and the walls gone," she said.

WDBJ 7 reached out to Charlotte Moore on Sunday regarding the collapse.

 Moore represents the Cave Spring district on the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors. She wasn’t available for an on camera interview, but told WDBJ 7 she was surprised to see the damage.

She said the county is in the process of making sure the wall is properly fixed.

A lot of controversy surrounded South Peak before the county gave the green light on the project. Nearby residents said construction has been slow on the site up until now.

"I'm not saying that had anything to do with the wall, but it does seem like there were some shortcuts that got us to this part," said Alan Wade.

No word yet on the extent of damage done to either the roadway or the wall surrounding the property.

A building inspector and the developer, Smith/Packett, are trying to figure out what caused the wall to collapse and are taking all steps necessary to prevent further damage.