Work Continues on Giant Sinkhole Along Route 29 Southbound

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

November 30, 2005

Tuesday's storm caused another huge problem that's been slowing traffic; crews are still trying to fill a gigantic sinkhole along Route 29 near Airport Road.

Route 29 southbound has been closed to only one lane of traffic since the sinkhole appeared. It's been non-stop work for crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation. The culprit is a 30 feet deep sinkhole left behind by Tuesday night's storm.

"About 8:00 last night, they said they heard some vibration, felt some vibration, and a large section of the road collapsed into the pit," said Lou Hatter, Spokesperson for The Virginia Department of Transportation.

The extra rain caused a storm pipe underneath the road to start leaking which caused the soil to erode.

"More water came out [of the pipe], it eroded more soil and created a cavern under there and the weight of the earth and the roadway overtop of it then collapsed the road down into that pit," explained Hatter.

Crews spent Wednesday removing dirt from the hole so they could repair the pipe underneath. Traffic along Route 29 southbound near Airport Road was reduced to one lane which brought cars to a crawl . But for some the site wasn't so bad.

"I think it's cool," said Andrew Dunstan.

JoAnn Dunstan and her five-year-old son Andrew couldn't resist getting a peak at the gaping hole.

"He likes to see all the big shovels and dump trucks and all that so we thought it was worth stopping," said Dunstan.

But for those who'd rather not stop, VDOT has some advice.

"Please be patient, recognize that we're going to have some delays and we're doing the best we can to minimize it as much as possible," said Hatter.

VDOT is asking commuters to take alternate routes because traffic is left with only one lane. Suggestions are either Earlysville Road or Rt. 20. Crews plan to work on the hole throughout the night; they hope to have all lanes along Route 29 southbound open by Thursday at noon. The hole should be completely repaired by Friday.

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