Sinkhole continues to force traffic detour
by Emily Adams

A 15-foot deep sinkhole on Quarry Road continues to sink after it has been filled five times. Street department director Tommy Woolley said the road will remain barricaded until they can determine it is safe again. The sinkhole, which first appeared in December, was originally 70 feet deep and 40 feet wide.
SYLACAUGA – A 15-foot deep sinkhole on Quarry Road is still sinking despite five attempts to fill it by the street department.

Street department director Tommy Woolley said they are working hard to fill it, but cannot determine when it will stop sinking.

“I know the residents that live near that road are upset by the detour, but it’s for their own safety,” Woolley said. “We’d hate to open the road and have somebody drive through there at night and it is 10-feet deep again. We have to keep it closed until we can determine it is safe.”

Mayor Sam Wright addressed the issue at a city council meeting Wednesday morning.

“We have it barricaded, and we ask citizens for cooperation and understanding in what we’re having to battle,” Wright said. “We know it’s a big inconvenience, but the street department is handling it.”

The hole, which is now about 20 feet wide, was originally 70 feet deep and 40 feet across when it first appeared in December.

To fill the hole, the street department places large boulders in the bottom and pours concrete on top, Woolley said.

“When we do that, it can continue to sink around the perimeter of the plug,” he said. “We have to keep doing it until the boulders we put in plug the throat of the hole.”

Woolley said Sylacauga’s history of sinkholes is a side effect of being located near a quarry.

“It’s no one’s fault,” he said. “It just tends to happen. Cracks in the limestone underground allow dirt and materials to go through and that can sink into a hole.”

Also at the meeting, the council:

• Approved action necessary to abate nuisance relative to the property at 55 Piney Acres Rd. owned by Louise Herron.

• Designated Interim Police Chief Chris Carden as traffic director.

• Authorized Carden to hire a temporary nuisance control employee at a $10 an hour. The position is for six months or until a permanent employee is hired.

• Authorized the distribution of $10,000 in contributed funds from the Talladega County Commission to the Animal Rescue Foundation.

• Authorized Wright to execute contracts for the fiscal year Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2012, as follows:

$85,000 SAFE transportation program

$58,350 Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce

$36,900 Industrial Development Board

$29,000 Animal Rescue Foundation

$26,700 SAFE

$23,100 ARC of South Talladega County

$11,400 Comer Museum and Arts Center

$10,000 Sylacauga Health Care Authority

$3,600 Boy’s Club of Sylacauga

No cost for Curtis and Sons Funeral Home grave opening

• Authorized Wright to execute building lease with ARF for the same fiscal year.

• Accepted a donation of remaining grave sites in Lot #141 of Marble City Cemetery from Mary Sue McWilliams McRee, successor in interest to the original owner, W. W. Matson. The donated lot is valued at $400. Remaining grave plots are to be sold and proceeds to be used for the perpetual maintenance of Marble City Cemetery.

• Authorized payment of any installation costs and monthly bill from the Utilities Board for meter and water services provided at Sylacauga Cemetery.

• Authorized $500 to the Miss Sylacauga Pageant to fund the scholarship contest.

• Approved overpayment refunds of 2012 business license fees as follows:

$1,314.17 to Save-a-Lot #4747

$103.05 to Marathon Electrical Contractors

$50 to Barber Sales Co.

$25 to Buffalo Rock Dist. Co. Inc.

• Approved a $10 refund to Terry Ward for overpayment of municipal court fines collected in January 2012.

• Approved expenses for Wright and council members to attend a Municipal Legislative Advocacy training session in Montgomery Feb. 21, 2012. The registration fee is $100 per person.

• Authorized payments totaling $144,183.76 for accounts payable invoices received to date for January 2012.

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© 2012