Growing West Virginia sinkhole threatens local police department

Nov. 19 (UPI) — A large sinkhole that opened in the West Virginia town of Hinton in June has grown after recent rain and is now threatening to swallow the local police department.

The sinkhole, located on West Virginia Route 20 next to the police department, was about 6 feet wide and about 30 feet deep when it first opened and has since grown due to rain caused by Hurricane Nicole, according to a news release from the West Virginia Division of Highways.


Officials blamed the original sinkhole on a 90-year-old drain under the road that began failing, leading to the collapse. The sinkhole has also left an underground gas line exposed, which was taken out of service after the initial cave-in.

“Yes, it has gotten worse. Please avoid using this road unless it is absolutely necessary,” Hinton Mayor Jack Scott said in a statement earlier this week.

Workers on Saturday began the installation of a temporary bridge along the highway to span the sinkhole, which is expected to be completed on Sunday.

“The prefabricated steel bridge is similar to Bailey bridges developed by the British military during World War II, and requires assembly on site,” WVDOH said in the statement.


State Sen. Stephen Baldwin said in a statement that officials have identified a long-term fix for the sinkhole, expected to cost around $5 million, and will be putting out a request for bids.

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