South Nashville road closed by sinkholes reopens - WKRN News 2

South Nashville road closed by sinkholes reopens

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Photo courtesy of Metro Water Services Stormwater Division Photo courtesy of Metro Water Services Stormwater Division
Photo courtesy of Metro Water Services Stormwater Division Photo courtesy of Metro Water Services Stormwater Division
Photo courtesy of Metro Water Services Stormwater Division Photo courtesy of Metro Water Services Stormwater Division
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

McGavock Pike at School Lane in south Nashville reopened late Thursday afternoon.

Workers were expected to return to the area on Friday, weather permitting, to paint roadway lines on the newly paved section.

McGavock Pike is a fairly busy thoroughfare, linking Harding Place and Murfreesboro Pike near the Nashville International Airport.

For two weeks, crews worked to recreate a solid foundation under the roadway after two sinkholes appeared.

The first sinkhole was found in a drainage ditch on April 25. It dropped approximately 15 feet below the surface.

The second sinkhole, on the opposite side of the roadway in a lane of traffic, was initially thought to be a pothole. Metro Public Works patched the hole, but within days the spot was sunken again.

The road was immediately shutdown in both directions, while a contractor assessed the damage and repairs began.

Heavy equipment was brought in to excavate the second sinkhole. Crews were forced to dig 30 feet below the surface before reaching solid rock. Compression grout concrete was used to create a second foundation to stabilize and rebuild the roadway.

According to Ricky Swift with Metro Water Services Stormwater Division, sinkholes are not uncommon in Tennessee because of limestone beneath the surface. While rain is not a primary cause of sinkholes, it contributes to the problem.

In a phone conversation with Nashville's News 2, he said, in the simplest of terms, rainwater will penetrate the ground until it reaches an underwater stream. The stream erodes underground materials, and the ground depresses.

Swift noted, while the second sinkhole on McGavock Pike was first confused for a pothole, potholes are rarely sinkholes. He also said the Nashville area has countless sinkholes, but few depress like the McGavock Pike sinkholes.

"A sinkhole with a one foot depression can stay that way for 10,000 years," Swift said. "It's always there, but it needs a trigger to drop."

Metro Water Services is responsible for sinkholes in roadways or other city property.

However, city crews often assess suspected sinkholes on personal property to determine if storm sewer or water lines are at fault for a land surface depression. Typically, if no utilities are in the area, it is considered a true sinkhole.

Swift advises property owners to consult with a contractor or geo-technical engineer to address sinkhole concerns.

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