There are many things that I couldn’t tell from a hole in the ground.
The sinkhole along Historic Route 66 in Pacific, Missouri, is not one of them. It truly is a hole in the ground, a 70-foot by 50-foot hole — as of Friday afternoon — that was deep enough to swallow a two story building.
According to an engineer working for a company contracted by the city, the cause of the sinkhole was the collapse of a storm sewer pipe.
The 6- to 7-foot wide pipe, was installed in the undeveloped farm field back in the 1980’s.
It was attached to the cement box culvert that ran under the highway at the time.
The engineer believes the connection joint failed and the pipe was crushed after years of deterioration.
As rain poured down in torrents at times on Friday, crews will have to wait until the inclement weather passes before they begin fixing the problem.
Erosion around the edges has slowly increased the size of the sinkhole, however most of the holes growth has been along the edge furthest away from the highway.
It is believed the cement box culvert is still intact, and that there is minimal risk to losing any more ground near the road.
The edge closest to the highway is over 30 feet from the highway.