Rock Springs, Wy – Booming Rock Springs needs more housing but where to build that new housing is a different challenge. Thousands of acres around town were once underground mines now abandoned but still too dangerous to build on. The city asked the state to help clean up several such sites to make them suitable for building. And the state's preferred technique called dynamic compaction collapses the deep underground caverns using a 25-ton weight. Abandoned Mine Lands director Evan Green says it might be causing some damage to local homes. The other option is called grouting or filling old mines in with cement. But he says that is very expensive.
Green says other towns are facing the same squeeze on land that's unsafe for building but needed for housing and infrastructure. But until they can be certain the clean-up technique is safe to use in town they're putting the work on hiatus and meeting with local residents.