Main road remains blocked after third slip

Third landslide caused restrictions on the main highway of Georgia. Photo by IPN., 19 Jun 2014 - 18:06, Tbilisi,Georgia

The main highway connecting east and west Georgia is still blocked after a third landslide hit the area.

Officials said debris from yesterday’s landslip caused further upset for emergency workers who were trying to clear up debris from two earlier slips that had blocked the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze main highway.

Traffic has been restricted from travelling along this road for almost two weeks, since the first landslide hit the area on June 12.

The second landslip occurred on June 13 and the most recent landslip happened yesterday afternoon. Heavy rain yesterday was believed to be the reason behind the landslides, which occurred near Rikoti tunnel. This was the third landslide to hit the same spot.

Georgian authorities said they must wait for geologists to examine the area before the Rikoti tunnel road can be reopened. The road is one of Georgia’s main highways and connects eastern parts of the country with the west.

Road cleaning works went to the site immediately after yesterday’s landslide. Work resumed early this morning however heavy rain has since halted the cleaning mission.

Georgia’s Department of Roads said because of the heavy rain, there was still a chance of further landslips. Expert geologists must now evaluate the scene to determine if it is safe to reopen the road to vehicles.

In the first landslip, experts estimated around 2,000 cubic metres of mountain rock collapsed onto the road.

All vehicles, excluding trailers and semi-trailers, are permitted to travel along the bypass road of Gomi- Satchkhere- Chiatura-Zestafoni, said the Department of Roads.