Sinkhole causes road closure
June 5, 2014
A sinkhole discovered on May 24 has closed a section of Iowa Avenue across from the USO and Abrams Theater.
Post Engineers continue to assess the hole that officials estimate is 30 feet by 20 feet in diameter and more than 20 feet deep.
"This is the third one I have seen open up on post and by far the largest," said Gary Roberts, Chief of Engineering Design for the Directorate of Public Works on Fort Leonard Wood.
A portion of the sinkhole has expanded nearly a foot since it was marked by white spray paint on the day it was discovered.
"If we left it like this, the sinkhole would continue to grow," Roberts said.
According to officials, the biggest problem for the site is the water running into the sinkhole from the storm drain that was damaged when the ground collapsed.
Geological surveyors have examined the sinkhole and provided recommendations for repair, but it will take time to determine what type of materials will be used to fill the large hole.
Safely filling the site is also a factor crews are analyzing due to the weakened ground on the sinkhole's perimeter.
"We'll probably have to make the hole bigger before we move forward with filling it," Roberts said.
Electrical wiring for streetlights and communication cables for neighboring building were exposed in the ground when the sinkhole opened complicating the repair work.
Officials will need to test the integrity of the soil to bring in dump trucks to repair the damage.
They will also evaluate a nearby depression by pouring water into ground to determine whether it is or is not a sinkhole.
"If it holds water, then it isn't a sinkhole. But if the water comes out fast and through the sinkhole, we know it's tied together," said Roberts on the depression.
"If it goes down quickly and doesn't come out, we know there's a second sinkhole," he said. A timeline to repair the site has not yet been determined, but efforts to ensure the area is properly restored are well underway.
"We're going to get it fixed as quickly as we can," Roberts said.
Missouri may be nicknamed the "Show Me State" and known for its many caves, but it is also home to an estimated 16,000 sinkholes documented by Missouri's Geological Survey Program.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, 133 sinkholes have been identified in Pulaski County, 59 of which are located on Fort Leonard Wood.