July 11, 2006
A 30-foot hole on Route 29 South may be making an unwelcome comeback. VDOT believes a leak in the pipe is making the road cave in. So far, the road has only sunk about 2.5 inches, but VDOT officials say it is beginning to look a lot like the hole that swallowed that road last year.
Last week a driver spotted a little dip in the road on Route 29 South near Forest Lakes and called the Virginia Department of Transportation.
At the time officials said it was a two-inches settling in the asphalt, so they patched it up and went on their way. Unfortunately, they were back again on Tuesday, this time with a small robotic camera that showed the settling was getting worse. It sunk another half an inch.
"From the way that the road has settled, from the location where the settling has occurred, what they are thinking is that we may have a breach in the pipe wall in the area where the new sections of pipe and the old pipe are joined together," said Lou Hatter, of VDOT.
VDOT officials are being extra cautious considering this is the same place where the old pipe burst underneath the ground, causing a 30-foot hole in November of last year.
"I suppose we could have something that big again, but that's one of the reasons why we've jumped right on it here--to try and make sure that we don't get that situation again," said Hatter. "We want to get on it right now and fix it before we do get into that type of a situation."
It took VDOT days to remove all the dirt from the massive hole last year so that they could repair the pipe underneath. Traffic along Route 29 was reduced to one lane, bringing cars to a crawl.
VDOT officials said they don't want to deal with another 30-foot hole. They are going to monitor the road and eventually fix the pipe if that is the exact cause of the dip in the road. So far, the potential problem has not caused any traffic delays.