Stretch of I-40 Closed Until Monday Morning
Posted November 18, 2006 1:19 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2006 5:54 p.m. EST
Officials said two sinkholes were discovered beneath the eastbound lane of I-40 at mile marker 308 late Friday evening after a contractor digging under the interstate accidentally dislodged enough of the road's support system to leave two giant sinkholes, or voids.
"The water just came gushing out, and it brought a lot of material out with it," said DOT engineer McGee. "It was tons and tons of dirt. That's what created the voids. That's what we're trying to fill back in."
One of the holes was the size of a small car, and the other measured about 30 feet long. A stretch of the roadway from U.S. Highway 70 to N.C. Highway 42 was shut down as both DOT and Raleigh workers repaired the damage.
DOT officials had hoped to have the stretch of road reopened by Sunday afternoon, but spokesman Andrew Sawyer said Sunday that crews found another hole 25 feet deep where dirt supporting the road had been washed away. That spot, or void, was not detected Friday night.
Sawyer said crews are doing everything they can to get the road reopened by 5 a.m. morning.
I-40 eastbound traffic is being rerouted -- causing congestion for motorists -- onto U.S. 70 to N.C. Highway 50 to N.C. 42, and then back to I-40 East.
"This is out of control for a weekend," said motorist Dennis Wise. "It's nuts."
Motorists are encouraged to call 511 or check the state's traveler's information Web site for updates.
The sinkholes caused an estimated $10,000 to $25,000 in damage. It is unclear if the DOT, contractor or City of Raleigh will pay for the damage.