Possible sinkhole closes US Highway 6 between EagleVail and Dowd Canyon in Eagle County | SummitDaily.com

Possible sinkhole closes US Highway 6 between EagleVail and Dowd Canyon in Eagle County

Carolyn Paletta
Vail Daily
Water buildup from Sunday night's rainstorm is causing a potential sinkhole to form on Highway 6.
Carolyn Paletta/Vail Daily

EAGLEVAIL — Water damage that could result in a sinkhole impacted a stretch of Highway 6 on Monday, closing down traffic in both directions near the entrance to the Kayak Crossing apartment complex in EagleVail.

Around 11 a.m. on Monday, a growing buildup of water caused a bulge to form in the asphalt. As of 4 p.m. Monday, the water had drained out naturally, flattening the road, but it is possible that the damage caused a large hole to form underneath the asphalt. The road will remain closed until the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) can determine the cause and method of remediation.

“We will not reopen it until we are feeling confident that it is safe, and that does mean checking to see whether there is a big hole underneath the roadway, to put it in plain terms,” said CDOT communications manager Elise Thatcher.

The issue began around 7 a.m. on Monday, when drivers notified CDOT about a water leakage occurring in the road. CDOT dispatched Melissa DeAndrea, who arrived on the scene at 7:30 a.m. to a small spout of water leaking out of a hole in the asphalt.

After checking the scene, DeAndrea moved onto a different project. When she returned to the site around 11:15 a.m. the road had started to form a bubble in the asphalt about a foot wide. By noon, it had grown to around 20 feet wide and 4-6 inches high and was taking up the full width of the right-hand lane heading east.

DeAndrea said that excess water from Sunday night’s rainstorm built up under the road, mixing with the dirt to push against the asphalt. Often when the mud drains out from under the road, the bubble will invert and form a sinkhole.

As of 4 p.m. on Monday, the drainage had not resulted to a sinkhole, but the road is not yet considered safe for use.

“Crews will use a piece of equipment called a deflectometer to assess whether there is a void underneath the pavement,” Thatcher said. “This allows crews to assess for safety without having to use heavy equipment to peel back or dig up the roadway. That ability to review without digging up the roadway is important because this section of US 6 has a significant amount of utilities.”

The equipment required for this operation is currently en route to the site and is anticipated to arrive Tuesday.

With more rain forecasted this afternoon and evening, CDOT officials said that the buildup may occur again, and they will be monitoring the area tonight and Tuesday to see whether additional rainfall affects the road damage.

At around 1:30 p.m. an additional spout of water opened in the asphalt, indicating possible progression towards a sinkhole.
Carolyn Paletta/Vail Daily

If a sinkhole does form, or there is a hole or other hazard identified under the road, CDOT will have to excise the section of road, refill it and repave it. DeAndrea said that this process can be finished in the course of a day, but due to staffing issues and high demand for equipment in other areas of the state it could take a few days to fix the road.

At time of report bike lanes in the area remain open for use, and residents of Kayak Crossing and River Run can access those complexes from the east, off of I-70.

This story is from VailDaily.com.

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