Wednesday evening, the sinkhole that appeared and was repaired on N.C. 268 Business in front of the Electronic Service Center in January began to crumble causing that section of road to be closed again.
Brian Atmby, maintenance engineer for Wilkes County, stated residents should be prepared for the section of road from Powers Lane to the corner where Elk Spur Street and Austin Traphill Road meet to be closed for up to three weeks. “We say three weeks, but we hope it will be sooner,” explained Atmby’s assistant Jim Pendry.
According to Atmby, the sinkhole is caused by, “a failing pipe system. I am hoping we can get a new drainage system in a week,” but the entire repair process will take longer. “When we abandon the old system, we have to fill it with grout,” which is why the completed repair will take longer.
When the pipe was first laid in the 1940s, “it was just a pipe across the road,” explained Atmby, who recently discovered paperwork that revealed the south side of the road had been developed in the 1960s. “This was a natural gully they filled in. They changed the topography.” For this reason, the new pipe will be laid several feet east of the current pipe where the lowest point in the road is now that the area has been developed.
“It wasn’t a big deal to repair initially,” said Atmby, explaining that the old pipe was 30 to 35 feet deep, which meant that they had to use a robot to search for the problem instead of sending a person down to investigate. “We knew we were going to have to fix it,” although it was not expected to happen so quickly.
Businesses affected by the closure only seem to be mildly concerned. Jerri Wagner of Wags-n-Tails Dog Salon did not seem at all bothered by the problems caused by the sinkhole. “So far we haven’t had any cancellations. Most of the locals know how to get around it,” said Wagoner. “We have several out-of-town clients that we are calling so it has slowed us down a little and it is inconvenient for our customers but we’re not worried about it.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.