Neighbor Alerts VDOT about Potential Sinkhole

03/24/2013 08:13

A neighbor contacted the Virginia Department of Transportation about a potential sinkhole on Saturday.

Mike Feichtinger said he saw it when he was walking with his dogs by the Endless Caverns in New Market.

"I was right there looking at this and my foot got in it and it became an 8 inch by 8 inch square hole," said Feichtinger.

He said he has heard of other sinkholes before.

"I had the big sinkhole in Florida on my mind. My first thought was boy I don't wanna be in the basement here," said Feichtinger.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, sinkholes form typically in areas with rocks such as, limestone and dolomite.

The area does not have external surface drainage, making it easier for water to stay inside when it rains, according to USGS.

Feichtinger who has lived close to the caverns for years said he's not surprised to see something like this.

"We're in that corner where there's a lot of open space underneath us," said Feichtinger.

He called VDOT to make sure it could not be of any harm for cars or for people.

"I was just concerned of where it was and if it extended underneath the roadway that someone could get hurt," said Feichtinger.

Staunton District Communications Manager Sandy Myers said crews determined it was just a hole. However, sinkholes are not unheard of in the area.

"We can see them frequently sometimes we will see a couple a week. Sometimes it will be a while before we see them. Again it depends but they're very common in this area," said Myers.

She said sinkholes can usually be seen on road shoulders, in slopes next to the road and even the interstate.

"We generally see them when we're in a period where you have a lot of dry weather in an extended period of time and maybe getting some rain or you can see them in a period where you're getting a lot of moisture," said Myers.

Sinkholes can usually start as a small depression and develop with time, according to Myers.

She said neighbors can contact VDOT's help line, if they believe there is anything abnormal with the roads.

If there is a sinkhole, VDOT crews will dig up to get to the bottom of the hole and cover it up with dirt, boulders and rock. However, if the sinkhole went into the pavement, crews will have to repave the road after getting done with the repairs.  WHSV


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