ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — Ross Township is dealing with the impacts of a sinkhole caused by heavy rains.
After a torrential downpour hit the area Thursday, the sinkhole grew overnight and McKnight Circle is closed for at least the next couple of days, Ross Township Public Works Director Michael Funk said.
“[The] police called me last night and said the other lane fell, so it’s growing,” Funk told KDKA after checking out the damage Friday in the sinkhole.
Public works crews began addressing the 10-foot deep sinkhole as the sun came up Friday morning. Funk believes a 6-foot storm drain is to blame for this issue.
Funk said the drain is about 20 feet in the ground, and that is about 10 feet deeper than the hole.
“We’re going to dig this up and find out what the problem is,” Funk said. “We’re really not sure right now if there’s a collapse or a separation.”
Commissioner Steve Korbel, the President of the Ross Township Board of Commissioners, signed an Emergency Declaration on Friday, announced on Ross Township’s Facebook.
The declaration allows the township to act in the public’s best interest in fixing the sinkhole and says caution should be used when traveling in the area, which is an active work zone.
People who live up McKnight Circle in the Waldorf Park Apartments are surprised to see the sinkhole, down the street from their homes.
“I just saw it online while I was at work and saw that this sinkhole had just appeared in the middle of the road,” Sam Gregory said. “I came home to it and had to drive around it.”
Drivers from the apartments must use detours to get to McKnight Road because the normal entrance and exit are now part of the sinkhole.
Ross Township said there may be potential lane restrictions and closures on the southbound side of McKnight Road.
“Traffic is coming in and out all the time on this road,” Gregory said. “It will definitely be an inconvenience, but you can’t control the weather.”
Funk believes the storm drain is about 40-50 years old. He said engineers checked the integrity of McKnight Road on Thursday and found no issues. Funk said engineers will be at the site again on Friday.
“This was a storm drain that was installed many, many years ago, and I don’t think anyone anticipated this kind of rainfall,” Frank told KDKA.
At this point, the exact cost of repairs is unknown, but Funk believes it could be more than $100,000.
— Chris Hoffman (@NewsmanChris) July 12, 2019
He also said it’s not the first time the McKnight Road area has had sinkhole issues.
“We had one about seven years ago,” Funk said. “And we had one three years ago, right where the old Chi-Chi’s (Mexican Restaurant) was.”
Funk hopes to have the repairs done and get the street open in about one week.