Clear way needed to examine sinkhole

Published 10:58 am Friday, October 14, 2016

VDOT employees are keeping an eye on the sinkhole that opened on Route 58E early Tuesday morning. The hole, measuring 15’ by 20’ wide and 15’ feet deep, had opened up in the right lane.

Paula Miller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said on Wednesday afternoon that “It’s going to be at least Friday before VDOT will even get to it.”

There’s a large culvert under the road, but until the water has receded, she said, “We don’t know if it washed out or if it’s a pipe that failed.”

When the way is clear, a camera can be used to better examine the problem.

Meanwhile, the hole has been filled with stones and paved over so no more water gets it, and it’s been secured so that the other lane can be used.

“If it’s pipe failure, then it’s major work involved and the road would need to be closed for awhile, maybe a couple of weeks, it depends on what we find out,” Miller said.

She added then that there are still 100 VDOT employees in Franklin residency alone who have been working on the roads.

“There are nine roads needing major repairs, including Route 58,” she said. “Forty-four were affected either by washouts, or repairs needed to shoulders that were weakened.”

Miller continued, “We make environmental assessments of the washout. We pump out the water or let the waters recede. We replace the culvert, if it needs to be replaced. We backfill with stone and sand fill. We stabilize the slopes. We grade it and then either pave it with asphalt or surface treatment (tar and rock).”