Sinkhole opens up in Madera County closing street

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Road closure signs and heavy equipment stands in the way of Oakhurst drivers after a sink hole was spotted just feet away from an elementary school. (KFSN)

Road closure signs and heavy equipment stands in the way of Oakhurst drivers after a sink hole was spotted just feet away from an elementary school.

The hole was spotted Tuesday between Elliot Drive and Pierce Place, near Oakhurst Elementary. The Madera County Sheriff's Office said they were immediately alerted by the Madera County Public Works Department.

"As they examined it further they noticed the hole extended for several feet on each side of the visible hole-- so it was void of any dirt or anything underneath the asphalt," said Commander Tyson Pogue, Madera County Sheriff's Office.

The Director of Public Works, Ahmad Alkhayyat, said the hole is about 12 inches in diameter and caused by a failed culvert.

"With age it gets corroded, and the drought, it established a hole and this happened to be at the top of the culvert below the pavement."

County officials said another factor for the hole could be the recent wet weather, causing some of the base underneath to wash away. Officials do not expect it to get any bigger but the area is closed off as a precaution while crews fix the problem.

"These sinkholes, they start off really small and they have the potential to engulf a full size vehicle. We don't anticipate this one being that big, however you don't know until you get in there," said Pogue.

Sheriff's deputies said they have contacted the school district to work out alternative bus routes for students. In the meantime, drivers are asked to use the detours along Hangtree Lane or Elliot Drive.

Related Topics:
trafficsinkholemadera countyroad closureOakhurst
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