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Heavy digging could start today on sinkhole

POSTED: August 6, 2014 4:03 p.m.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews begin to repair a sinkhole Wednesday in the parking lot of Barry's Better Menswear in the Lakeshore Place shopping center in Gainesville. The hole, a result of a drainage system failure, is about 20 feet by 20 feet.

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Workers spent Wednesday putting together a metal “trench box,” which is designed to provide a safe work area inside the sinkhole by holding back dirt, DOT district spokeswoman Teri Pope said.

The sinkhole is next to Barry’s Better Menswear in the parking lot of the Lakeshore Place shopping center in the northeast corner of Ga. 53 Connector/John Morrow Parkway and Pearl Nix Parkway.

The busy intersection is surrounded by retail establishments, including Lakeshore Mall.

The initial opening was about the size of a basketball, but officials have estimated the sinkhole widens to about 20 feet just below the asphalt and is about 20 feet deep.

The DOT, which closed the right-turn lane on Ga. 53 as it unloaded the trench box, widened the hole some and will peel it back as needed to plug the trench box into the hole, Pope said.

As digging gets underway, maintenance engineers “will inspect the area and determine the root cause of the sinkhole and order needed material,” she has said.

“We have placed tentative orders, but need to know the size of the drainage structures because they are custom-made, Pope said.

The DOT’S “work plan could change depending on what we find after asphalt is removed and, as always, this schedule is weather permitting.”

Workers discovered the sinkhole Monday morning after it was reported by the property owner.

Until repairs are made, shoppers can only reach stores in the center from John Morrow Parkway.

The goal is to begin installing new drainage structures on Monday.

Overall, the DOT hopes to finish the repairs by Aug. 20, DOT District Engineer Bayne Smith has said.


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