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Sinking feeling: Mount Carmel reopens sinkhole section of Main Street

Jeff Bobo • Mar 10, 2017 at 6:00 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — A section of Main Street that was closed Sunday after the pavement began to sink was reopened with a fresh concrete patch Friday afternoon in time for school bus traffic and evening rush hour.

Early Sunday afternoon, Mount Carmel Public Works Director Jason Salyer responded to the same section of Main Street in front of Volunteer Collision that collapsed in 2012 and left a hole about 3 feet deep.

By Sunday evening, what had started as an indention in the pavement about 2 feet in diameter had expanded to about 9 feet by 8 feet and nearly a foot deep.

On Monday, the Public Works Department dug out that section of road about 3 feet deep looking for the problem.

The 2012 sinkhole was caused by a leaky sewer line that washed out a cavern beneath the road.

Salyer told the Times-News Friday that the department could not find the cause of the new sinkhole, and he thinks it was just some settling left over from 2012.

The Public Works Department packed the hole tight with a wet gravel material called “pug” and on Wednesday sealed the hole with steel reinforced concrete.

“Pug mix packs really hard, and we brought it up in about 6-inch increments, and we’d pack it with a vibrating packer,” Salyer said. “We worked our way up, and then on the very top I poured about 16 inches of concrete. We poured about 17 yards of concrete on the top.

“The way we done it should hold. I doweled steel rebar into the existing blacktop and all the concrete on top. Concrete is stronger that asphalt. I can’t promise anything, but I really think it will hold.”

The concrete was given about two days to dry.

That section of Main Street, located east of City Hall about halfway between Hammond Avenue and Independence Avenue, was opened Friday afternoon around 2 p.m.

“We never did find the cause or any holes that opened up,” Salyer said. “I don’t think it was pertaining to the sinkhole. I think it was more of a settlement problem. I think it just settled and the blacktop just got weak and give out.

“We dug it out. I even dug around some of the places where we know the hole was at five years ago. We didn’t find any kind of water leaks, sewer leaks. I just really think from the way it looked that it was just a settlement problem.”                                           

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