Boyd County, Kentucky
Cut Slope Failure

The Project

The project is an addition to an existing elementary and middle school. The project required excavation of an adjacent hill to create the level building pad for the addition.

The Site

A previously developed site in the Eastern Kentucky coal fields adjacent to the Ohio River . The site is located near the edge of the flood plain, at the base of an adjacent mountain.

The Problem

During construction, land slides developed in cut slopes made into the base of the adjacent mountain. While no geotechnical engineering had been performed during design, a geotechnical engineer was asked to review the failed slope. This engineer's recommendations to stabilize the slope behind the school were not implemented, and construction of the addition was completed. Subsequently, new slope movements heaved the footings of the addition and damaged a residence on the adjacent property.

The Cause

The design team failed to obtain the requisite site specific geologic and geotechnical investigations and evaluations and the cut slope was too steep into a hillside with a history of movements. The recommendations of the geotechnical engineer after the initial slope movement were not implemented because of the cost. The cut into the mountain slope caused the movements that ultimately damaged the school addition and the adjacent house.

The Resolution

Litigation was initiated by the neighbor against the school board, and the school board took action against the project Architect. All matters were resolved in an out of court settlement, the details of which have not been made public.

The Attorney Client

For the Owner:

Adkins, Hall, Howell & Duggan, P.S.C.
2813 Louisa Street
Cattlettsburg , Kentucky 41129-0653
Mr. James E. Adkins, II


For additional information concerning this case,
you may contact:

P. O. Box 130
Nicholasville , Kentucky 40340-0130


Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks