Two sinkholes form in Leavenworth neighborhood

03/19/2013 22:00

Sinkholes in Leavenworth are rare and you could go years without seeing one, but in recent days two popped up in close proximity, and that has neighbors concerned.

One of those sinkholes appeared in an alley between Ninth and 10th streets near Kiowa Street.

It is about 3 feet deep and 4 feet wide, not enough to swallow someone but enough to cause serious injury.

"We've got kids in the neighborhood, vehicles going up and down," neighbor Jeff Billingsley said.

Billingsley's house is right next to the alley where the sinkhole appeared. Neighbors on the street first noticed it last Friday.

"We called the city and they said they send someone out. I come home in the afternoon and nothing's still done," Billingsley said.

That was because public works was dealing with a similar problem just a few blocks away near Dakota and Pawnee streets.

"When they came up Friday, they went to the wrong one.  So we've got two of them to work on now," said deputy public works director Bob Patzwald.

Patzwald believes the cause of the sinkholes has to do with aging infrastructure having to do with a stone arch and a storm pipe that was installed more than 100 years ago.

"I'm guessing there is a connection between the pipe and the old stone arch and the dirt gradually sifts away and creates a sinkhole," Patzwald said.

The city has now put up a barrier blocking this street to traffic and says it's working to correct the problem. Billingsley says it is a start.

"I'm definitely happier than I was Friday," Billingsley said.

Crews now have the sinkhole near Dakota and Pawnee streets covered with a metal plate.  The street near the other sinkhole near Kiowa Street is completely blocked off until crews can get it repaired.

Public works says they are taking the sinkholes very seriously, and they will be out Tuesday and plan to put a closed circuit camera into the sinkhole to determine what exactly is causing it before they begin repairs.  KCTV5

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