Chattanooga landslides putting public safety at risk

Heavy rain has shifted land along Lake Resort Drive, damaging the roadway. (Image: NewsChannel 9 SkyCam)

Landslides are becoming a problem for Chattanooga’s Department of Transportation.

That’s because they’re putting the public at risk.

From a collapsed restaurant, to a condemned one, experts say the city needs a system to predict landslides in the future.

Katie Snyder, a senior engineer with CDOT is not happy to see the land shifting along Lake Resort Drive due to the heavy rain.

“You can see how it's just losing its support. It's coming apart beneath it,” said Snyder.

“We're not normally in the field. Typically we're back at the office crunching the math, so this is an opportunity to show people we're monitoring this every day,” said Snyder.

Now the road is painted with orange construction barriers and paint marking the original cracks. Snyder says they’re expanding day by day.

“It is very important to update inventories. How many landslides in county,” said Professor Azad Hossain with UTC’s Geology Department.

Hossain says Chattanooga’s geography puts it at risk for landslides. The recent rain was just icing on the cake.

Hossain says there have been at least 31 landslides in Chattanooga on record. That number is likely to increase as they continue to dig deeper into research.

Hossain says at risk areas, such as Shuford’s BBQ are concerning. He says this is just one example of why the city needs more research on landslides to stay ahead of the problems. His students plan to publish their research in the next year or two. Their findings will allow them to create an equation to predict when landslides could occur, depending on several variables.

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