Marshall University sponsoring regional forum on geohazards and transportation

Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Engineers, geologists and transportation planners from across the region will gather in Chattanooga, Tenn., Aug. 2-4 for the Appalachian States Coalition for Geohazards in Transportation’s 11th annual technical forum, “Geohazards Impacting Transportation in the Appalachian Region.”

 Coordinated by Marshall University’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) and sponsored in conjunction with the university’s Nick J. Rahall II Appalachian Transportation Institute, the forum will be hosted this year by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

According to CEGAS Director Dr. Tony Szwilski, chairman of the coalition and head of the planning committee for this year’s forum, members of the coalition meet annually to share information about research developments and projects related to rock falls and landslides along highways, seismic activity, and flooding and subsidence impacting transportation infrastructure in the region. Coalition members represent the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S.  Army Corps of Engineers, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the departments of transportation and state geological surveys in Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

“It is an exciting prospect to work with federal, state and private entities to share best practices on the prevention and remediation of geological problems that affect transportation throughout the Appalachian region,” Szwilski said. “We encourage anyone with an interest in this topic to join us for what promises to be an excellent program.”

He added that this year’s event will include a pre-conference field trip to the U.S. Route 64 area through the Ocoee River Gorge. The area, which is used for transportation, forestry, conservation, recreation and power generation, was the site of three rock slides in 2009-10, one of which closed the highway for five months. The field trip will feature discussions and visits to areas of interest to geologists, geotechnical engineers, environmental scientists, planners and others interested in the geohazards and constraints of development of the area designated as the nation’s first U.S. Forest Service Scenic Byway.

 The early registration deadline for the forum is Friday, July 8. For more information, visit or contact Szwilski at or 304-696-5457