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Sinkhole swallows part of I-80 in Summit County near Wyoming border

Published: Friday, May 17 2013 12:45 p.m. MDT

Crews are working to fix a 16-foot deep, 8-foot wide sinkhole that appeared on Interstate 80 about 16 miles from the Wyoming border Wednesday May 15, 2013. They hope to have it fixed before the Memorial Day weekend.

Jen Pilgreen, Deseret News

ECHO, Summit County — Crews are working on a 16-foot-deep, 8-foot-wide sinkhole that appeared on eastbound I-80 near the Wyoming border when a pipe below the road caved in.

A big pipe is right underneath the sinkhole, and for some reason, a piece of the pipe caved in from the top. When that happened, the land above it came crashing down, resulting in the hole.

"One of my crew members happened to drive through here yesterday (Wednesday) morning and felt it and found it, and we immediately closed the road," said Bryant Richins, a Utah Department of Transportation supervisor.

Devin Maxfield with Lyndon Jones Construction has fixed plenty of sinkholes before, but the one on I-80 about 16 miles from the Wyoming line is more challenging than most.

"On a scale of one to 10 as far as difficulty goes, probably give it a seven," Maxfield said. "We'll have to cut open a hole in the road, dig all of the damaged material out, refill it.” To fix it, another pipe has been ordered that will slip through the old pipe.

There have been no reports of any car damage, but drivers certainly don't want to drive over this spot. "It'll definitely do some damage," Richins said.

Crews put jersey barriers in place to keep drivers from running over the hole and to keep work crews safe from drivers.

"Please be careful. Please slow down," Maxfield said. "We're not in a race. We're trying to get this job done as quickly as we can and get the road back open as soon as possible."

It should take about a week to get the sinkhole fixed. It depends on how quickly crews can get that pipe in and slip it into the spot where the old pipe is. They hope to have it fixed by Wednesday and say it should definitely be done by Memorial Day.

Email: acabrero@deseretnews.com

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