A small hole that popped up in a West Virginia parking lot last year has grown so large that it now threatens to devour a small-town police department.
The sinkhole first appeared next to the local police station in Hinton, a southwestern Virginia city of just over 2,200 residents, in June 2021, according to local news outlet WVNS.
Local news station WSAZ initially reported that the gullet—caused by failed drainage under the road—was only six feet wide and 30 feet deep.
Officials tried to fix the problem, but heavy rains from recent Hurricane Nicole made the crater grow exponentially. Now, a section of the Police Department building was left teetering on the edge.
“The rain we had over the weekend greatly widened the hole,” Senator Stephen Baldwin said in a Facebook post on November 14. “This is extremely dangerous and is being treated as such by the Department of Health, the city and the school system. School buses run this route every day carrying our most valuable resources. We must do everything we can to protect their safety.”
In a video posted to Facebook on Wednesday, the West Virginia Department of Transportation posted photos of the crater and said the state’s highway department is set to install a temporary bridge at the sinkhole site over the next few days, while a permanent repair is done. is happening.
“It’s going to be a quick operation—our guys will work as long as they have to do it every day,” Joe Buck, deputy state highway engineer, said in a news conference included in the video. “Our goal is to make this as quick and painless as possible, so that everyone can then drive through a structure that they feel is safe and have no more worries or anxieties.”
In a separate Facebook post on Wednesday, Baldwin said the long-term solution would cost about $5 million and be paid for by the state.
Sewers can be formed in several ways. In this case, the water entered the ground with nowhere to drain, collecting and breaking off rocks and dirt, eventually causing the foundation above to collapse.