Montgomery Co. works to repair major sinkhole - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Montgomery Co. works to repair major sinkhole

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Montgomery County is working against the clock to repair a dangerous sinkhole that's growing by the day. The hole is located in the Lagos Del Sol neighborhood in Hope Hull just off U.S. Highway 31. That's near Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama's plant.

"It was the size of a few coolers. Now, it's the size of a truck," explains Montgomery County Administrator Donny Mims.

Now, it's at least five feet deep and more than 6 feet wide; evidence of failed corrugated metal piping that is well past its prime.

"It will engulf the home eventually," Mims adds.

The county has been attempting to remedy the situation for 3 years, but issues involving private property have stifled the progress. Now, they have no choice, because it involves the health and welfare of residents.

"If there's a flood, the water will well up inside that open hole," explains architect David Reed, "and as the water goes back down, of course it will create a whirlpool, go back down the pipe, and anybody that fell in there, they would get washed down the pipe."

Reed, who works with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, is leading the charge to keep the dangerous storm water underground.

The Montgomery County Commission agreed to a $5,000 hydrology study, and $28,000 in emergency funds to repair the pipe and fill the hole. But they are depending on a community block grant to fund the nearly $600,000 project to replace the entire infrastructure.

"We will be refining that estimate," Reed says, "as we determine the exact pipe sizes and lengths."

The grant won't be available until 2016. In order to qualify, the neighborhood is in for a heavy lift. Blighted properties must be torn down, yards must be cut back.

"The whole neighborhood needs help," Mims says. "Water is going to be coming to you whether it's in a pipe or not."

It's a liability that grows with each passing storm.  

The work to repair the hole will begin promptly, and the new concrete pipe won't need to be replaced when the entire system is overhauled.

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