Sinkhole opens up on Kings County road damaging 2 cars

KINGS COUNTY (KFSN) -- The drought is looking to be a major factor in a sinkhole problem in and around the Hanford area, four opened up in the last week.

One thing they have in common is the roads run above canals which are flowing with water for the first time in a couple of years.

The most recent happened Sunday night on 6th Avenue near Houston.

The California Highway Patrol says the driver of a semi noticed a small dip in the pavement and once he passed it the road gave way, affecting the two cars that followed.

"Truck hits it, it collapses," Sgt. McCord with CHP said. "She's right behind, the road goes out from under her, she basically dukes of hazards it and hits right there, and then goes over there."

All of her rims were damaged, but the next car was able to swerve out of the way.

"They're very fortunate," McCord said. "Very fortunate how the situation played out. So, we're lucky there wasn't much more traffic here."

And although the most recent sinkhole was the biggest, it's the fourth sinkhole in the area in the past week.

They're all happening on roads that go over canals where metal pipes that let water flow through underneath.

"We've been in a drought for so many years now, that some of these canals haven't had water in a couple of years, if not more than a couple of years," Kings County Roads Supervisor Michael Hoggard explained. "So, with them being empty, we've had rust issues and stuff like that."

The water was released just over a week ago and it was the start of a 21 day season. Because of that, it could take some time before the road is back open.

"We're going to go ahead and wait it out," Hoggard said. "Because the farmers here only have 13 days worth of water. So, we're going to let them run their 13 days of water, and then we're going to fix it after that."

That's why officials are urging drivers to be careful because last night could've been a lot worse.

"Whenever you're driving, you need to make sure you're paying attention to the road have that high visual horizon," McCord said. "Looking down the road, staying off your phone, wearing your seatbelt, things like that can eliminate some of these things."

"There will be a lot more checking on more pipes," Hoggard said. "As of right now, it's a hard thing to even figure out."
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