JONESVILLE — The state Department of Transportation has two major projects underway in Jonesville, one of which was caused when a sink hole opened up beside PVH Way behind 67 Pizza off N.C. 67.
“We actually saw it and thought it had to do with private property, but then we found out it was our pipe that failed,” Brandon Whitaker, district engineer with NCDOT, said of what he described as a sink hole that formed 20 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep about two months ago.
“The pipe has been there since the road was built to serve [Phillips VanHeusen],” he explained.
While one town of Jonesville employee said it was rumored a creek had been in that area and it had been piped, Whitaker said there is no sign of a creek on either side of the road, so he couldn’t say whether one existed there at one time.
The failure of the pipe, which was a corrugated metal pipe, was due to rust, which was found when a camera was sent up the pipe to look for issues causing the sink hole.
The large expensive of the project, which won’t be known until its completion, comes from the need to keep the only way for traffic to access PVH open for business while repairing the problem, Whitaker explained. “The pipe is about 35 or 40 feet deep. That’s the problem, it’s not a simple replacement of a pipe.”
A retaining wall has to be built to hold the road up in a safe manner while the contracted company augers out the old pipe while inserting the new pipe, he said of the complicated procedure. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”
Whitaker hoped by the end of this week the company handling the project, JR Vannoy & Sons out of West Jefferson, will be able to start the pipe work.
“If you look at typical sink hole situations, it was not really big, but we saw it early and started dealing with it as quickly as possible. The property owner has been working with us to get the situation remedied,” Whitaker said. “The costs are going to be hard to determine yet, because the work has been some with [DOT] forces and some contract. It’s going to be expensive.”
He said if the work had been done in the typical manner of shutting the roadway down, there will have been 250 to 300 feet of road removed to not have a safety issue. All of PVH’s utilities run along PVH Way, with that being the only road in and out of the facility. “What we’re doing now allowed us to do it and maintain traffic.”
The second project occurring in Jonesville is the roadwork taking place on Bridge Street. With coordination from the town of Jonesville in the planning process, DOT has contracted with Mathis & Son Grading of Wilkes County to change the look of the street and how pedestrian, bike and car traffic is handled.
The work include replacing existing sidewalks and curbing, adding more sidewalk and curbing, and eliminating the center turn lane with the addition of bike lanes on each side of the street.
The contract on the project was approved at $1,018,265.45, Whitaker reported, and must be completed by Aug. 31.
“As you can imagine, going into an old street already we’ve found things we didn’t know were there,” he said, explaining the crews have discovered pipes that no one knows where they lead. “So far there’s not been a problem, but anytime you work in a town you find utilities and things you didn’t know where there.”
The work, which began in February, will not close the road to traffic, but will require flagging of traffic. Also, Whitaker said road crews will be working with residents as they need to when they are near their property.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.