Sinkhole in Ranson Keeps Roads Closed

Sinkhole in Ranson Keeps Roads Closed

East Fifth Avenue right by Charles Town races is still blocked off, and crews were busy assessing the damage Tuesday afternoon.
RANSON, W.Va. - A road in Ranson, West Virginia remains closed after a sinkhole appeared earlier this week.

East Fifth Avenue by Charles Town Races and Slots is still blocked off, and crews were busy assessing the damage Tuesday afternoon.

Officials with the West Virginia Division of Highways say the sinkhole appears to be about 4x4 ft. from the surface, but when they took a look beneath the asphalt, they realized the hole is actually about 11 ft. wide and 20 ft. deep.

Authorities say the sinkhole was created due to erosion from a box culvert under this section of road. Culverts are man-made tunnels that let water pass under the road.

“We're taking a look at it. We have some of our geotechnical folks that are up in that area today beginning to just see how it happened,” said Walker.

Walker says they are not sure how long the road will be closed because they are still trying to figure out how to repair it.

Meanwhile, drivers have been detoured away from the area. The closure has added 5 minutes to Vivien Engelberg’s commute.

"I teach at Jefferson High so I just had to go into town, and then come back.” said Engelberg.

A local historian says Jefferson County is prone to sinkholes due to its natural topography. There is limestone under the ground throughout the county that can give out with conditions like heavy rain.

"They’re pretty common here,” said Doug Perks, a historian at the Jefferson County Museum. “If you can envision a cross section cut of the land, you'd see a bunch of holes. They create caverns."

But despite the fact that Jefferson County has seen its fair share of sinkholes, authorities say there is no need to panic.

"It doesn't mean that the ground in that town is unstable,” said Walker.

Traffic is being diverted through the Charles Town Races parking lot by the Hollywood Casino.

There's also an official detour taking drivers from Flowing Springs Road to Washington Street to George Street.

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