As a giant sinkhole in Hinton, West Virginia, keeps growing, the literal foundations of law and order in the community could very well collapse.
The Hinton Police Department’s offices are at the edge of the sinkhole, which is creeping closer and closer to the building which police had to abandon “a few months ago,” the New York Post reported, as it was told by a police department clerk.
The sinkhole appeared in June when a 90-year-old water pipe beneath the road collapsed, according to City Manager Chris Meadows, according to WVNS-TV.
— WVNS 59News (@WVNS59News) November 19, 2022
According to CNN, the sinkhole was about six feet wide and 30 feet deep when it first appeared on West Virginia Route 20. A July report by WVNS had it already at 38 feet wide.
A state Division of Highways release said crews put fill into the sinkhole during the summer.
Then came rains from Hurricane Nicole that poured more water into the hole, which eroded more ground and led to the sinkhole’s growth.
Pictures making their rounds on social media show quite the harrowing balancing act:
A small pothole that was left alone for months just ate the entire Hinton WV Police Department? 😵💫🥴
And it’s still growing? pic.twitter.com/iPOcKwgOqJ
— Justin Click (@HeyYo_JClick) November 16, 2022
David Warvel, the superintendent of Summers County Schools, said the sinkhole forced students in grades 6-12 to be moved to remote instruction until a temporary bridge can be built near the sinkhole, according to CNN.
A giant sinkhole is threatening to swallow up a police department building in Hinton, West Virginia.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 19, 2022
That process began Saturday as the West Virginia Division of Highways began constructing a 125-foot temporary bridge around the sinkhole.
“A long term fix has been identified and will be put out to bid ASAP. It will cost around $5 million. The state will pay for it,” state Sen. Stephen Baldwin posted on his Facebook account.
“This is a very serious matter and is being treated as such by DOH, the city, and the school system. School buses travel this road each day carrying our most precious resource. We must do everything possible to protect their safety,” he posted.
Building the temporary bridge “will be a fast process — our guys will work as long as they have to each day,” Joe Pack, a deputy state highway engineer, said, according to the New York Post.
HINTON – West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) bridge crews will build a temporary bridge this weekend over a large sinkhole on WV 20 in Hinton until permanent repairs can be made to a collapsed drainage structure under the road. https://t.co/wJr0bYgjZ3
— Blfd Daily Telegraph (@BDTonline) November 17, 2022
“It is our goal to make this as quick and painless as possible, so that everyone can then drive across a structure they feel is safe and they have no more concerns or worries,” he said.
The state will use prefabricated bridge pieces, he said.
“We just put it together like a big Lego set,” Pack said.
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