A huge sinkhole that started as a slight dip in a resident’s front yard has grown so big that it swallowed the local authority’s machinery that arrived to fix it.
Residents in Toco Hills, Georgia, say the monster hole has been growing since December and has now spread to the neighboring property, with a new sinkhole apparently forming right across the street.
The exact size and depth of the hole on Timberland Road has not been measured, but so far it has swallowed a mailbox and the backhoe digger sent by DeKalb County to repair it. The estimated cost of fixing the hole is an eye-watering $166,000, according to local TV news WSB 2.
Residents Gene and Amanda Hammett are horrified at the eyesore and dangerous void in their street.
The couple say they have been told the issue was caused by a collapsed pipeline running beneath the road, with Amanda Hammett telling WSB 2: “The infrastructure is around 60 years old; apparently it only has a 30-year lifespan.”
Discussing the length of time it has taken to repair the pipe or the sinkhole—which has allowed it to get much worse—she added: “I am frustrated, I’m mad at this point.”
The couple said they first noticed a small hole in their yard in December, but every time it rained the hole grew bigger. The county patched it up in January, but the hole returned almost immediately.
Gene Hammett said: “I don’t know how exactly it happened. We’ve been trying to figure out who to call and what to do, and we get no information.”
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Footage filmed at the scene shows a large sinkhole at the edge of one driveway, with an identical sinkhole immediately next to it, separated by what looks like some poured concrete. Directly on the other side of the road, a hole measuring about two feet across can be seen in the grass.
After WSB 2 called county officials, concrete barriers were placed around the hole to prevent people or pets falling in.
And an official reportedly apologized for the delay in fixing the sinkhole, blaming pandemic supply chain problems. An emergency contractor is set to be hired to repair the collapsed pipe, the news report added.
No date has yet been set for the repairs.
In January, a Virginia man has had a lucky escape after falling into a sinkhole that opened up beneath his porch, leaving him “dangling” dangerously over the void. While in June 2021, an enormous sinkhole measuring 200 feet in diameter opened up in the middle of farmland in Mexico.
Sinkholes are a naturally-occurring phenomenon that happen when that spot has no surface drainage.
That means whenever it rains all of the water pools in one place. Eventually, the water drains into the subsurface and can dissolve certain types of rock below the ground.
Sinkholes are relatively common in the U.S., particularly in Florida which is highly susceptible due to the limestone subsurface of the land.
They can be dangerous, because it’s possible for the land to stay intact for a while, while an underground cavity is forming. That can lead to a sudden unexpected collapse, with a giant sinkhole suddenly appearing.
Sinkhole damage costs the U.S. around $300 million per year, according to the United States Geological Survey.