West Virginia Police Department threatened to be swallowed by large sinkhole

A West Virginia police department is at risk of being swallowed by a massive sinkhole as officials scramble to find a long-term solution.

According to the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH), the sinkhole was originally about six feet wide and 30 feet deep when it first opened up in June 2021 on Route 20 next to the Hinton Police Department. Joe Pack, chief engineer for district operations, said a 90-year-old sewer under the road began to fail, causing the collapse.

Officials said the initial sinkhole was six feet wide and 30 feet deep.

Officials said the initial sinkhole was six feet wide and 30 feet deep.
(West Virginia Department of Transportation)

WVDOH said WVDOH crews installed a 120-foot temporary culvert and fill material under the road, but heavy rains from Hurricane Nicole on Friday, November 11, 2022, washed away the fill and made the sinkhole worse.

A clerk with the Hinton Police Department told the New York Post that the department was forced to relocate “a few months ago” because of the spread of the sinkhole.

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Pack said last week that WVDOH is gathering crews from across the state to build a temporary bridge to keep traffic flowing through the area while a permanent fix is ​​completed.

The Department of Transportation said in a news release that a 125-foot temporary bridge will be built along State Route 20 in Hinton starting Friday until permanent repairs can be made to the 90-year-old drainage structure.

Sinkhole appeared first on June 2021.

Sinkhole appeared first on June 2021.
(West Virginia Department of Transportation)

Pack said the bridge would be long enough to span the existing hole, even if it gets bigger, before contractors could replace the drainage structure. Traffic will be diverted after the bridge is built.

The statement said plans for permanent repairs were disrupted by the discovery of toxic levels of lead at the site. The Department of Highways will repair the sinkhole without endangering the public or work crews.

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Eventually, a 300-foot steel drainage structure will be placed beneath the field.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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