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Author Topic: Alabama Roads and sinkholes  (Read 3890 times)

MaxShelby

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Alabama Roads and sinkholes
« on: May 23, 2010, 08:40:52 PM »

Has anyone ever noticed that the majority of sinkholes seem to occur in close proximity to quarries?
Such as:
1-65 sinkhole earlier this year
Area of I 20/59 around Arkadelphia Road
Area of Hwy 79 in Tarrant

Admittedly, drought and rainfall do affect sinkhole occurrence as does Karst terrain (limestone), but that all goes back to groundwater levels at the root of it. Quarries withdraw massive amounts and further alter the groundwater tables.

I also notice that the states, counties, cities and in turn, taxpayers foot the bill for these repairs.

Something is wrong with this picture.....
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jdb1234

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Re: Alabama Roads and sinkholes
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2010, 11:46:13 PM »

I know of the first two, but is the sinkhole on AL 79 fairly recent, I don't remember hearing about that one?  The area of I-20/59 between Ensley and Arkadelphia Road is prone to sinkhole, one caused temporary lanes to be built southbound (still visible) back in the 1970s.  Alabama in general with lots of limestone, coal mines and quarries is very prone to sinkholes.
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MaxShelby

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Re: Alabama Roads and sinkholes
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 12:22:14 PM »

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=pinson+street+%26+highway+79+tarrant+alabama&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=32.059939,56.513672&ie=UTF8&hq=pinson+street+%26+highway+79&hnear=Tarrant,+AL&t=h&ll=33.586113,-86.767015&spn=0.00808,0.013239&z=16


The accompanying story:

Birmingham News
September 3, 2008
Drought, heavy rains lead to sinkholes

ANNE RUISI News staff writer
TARRANT--- Blame it on the two-year drought, blame it on the drenching remnants of Tropical Storm Fay that soaked Alabama a few weeks ago. The outcome is irrefutable: sinkholes have been opening up.

Almost 30 have appeared in the past two years, many of them in the past three months, city officials said.

''We even had one in the parking lot behind City Hall. It could eat two cars'' and was about 15 feet across, said Elvin Horton, Tarrant's building inspection officer. The latest two are one in the 300 block of Clow Lane, which has been fixed, and one in the 1500 block of Pinson Street, which was being repaired last week, Horton said. Pinson Street, particularly in the 1500, 1700 and 1800 blocks, has had at least eight sinkholes, according to a city tally last week.

At least six have been reported in the 1700 block of Jackson Boulevard and at least four in the 1100, 1200 and 1500 blocks of Elizabeth Avenue. And in the past three months the city has spent more than $250,000 repairing sinkholes, said Mayor Loxcil B. Tuck. She said she's contacted state and federal officials to try and secure additional funding.

The sinkholes vary in size but some have been massive, such as one of the Jackson Boulevard holes. That sinkhole measured a bit less than 100 feet long and stretched across the street from sidewalk to sidewalk. That repair alone cost the city $140,000, Tuck and Horton said.

Sinkholes form when water naturally moves through porous underground rock, such as the limestone Tarrant sits on, and creates cavities in the bedrock. When water fills the cavity, the walls and ceiling are supported. If the water table drops, a sinkhole can result. Engineers assisting the city said the drought has had an effect, the mayor said. ''We sit on rock. The water table dropped,'' which eventually led to the creation of sinkholes, Tuck said.

The drought was blamed for a giant sinkhole early this year that swallowed a backyard and crept toward a house in Birmingham's Bush Hills Neighborhood. Within days, it had swallowed the backyard and crept toward the house, leaving the back deck dangling.

Heavy rains can trigger sinkholes as the weight of a large amount of water can collapse an underground cavity. The area's recent heavy rains drenched the area and ''worsened our problem with sinkholes,'' Tuck said.

City officials said they have no idea when the sinkholes will end, and there's evidence more are trying to form.

Across the street from The Keg restaurant, for example, there are new cracks in the sidewalk and there's evidence the curb is dropping. That signals a lack of support underneath the ground, Horton said.

On the advice of a consultant, the city hired a company to inject grout into selected areas around the cracks - so far, 1,600-1,700 cubic feet. ''Hopefully it will stabilize the soil underneath there,'' he said. aruisi@bhamnews.com 

TARRANT'S SINKHOLE STATUS
Here is a list of the locations and status of the sinkholes that have occurred in Tarrant in the past two years, many of them in the past three months, according to Elvin Horton, the city's building inspection officer.

1500 Mountain Drive. On private property. Sinkhole area fenced in, but it keeps growing.
1512 Wharton Ave. On private property. Not repaired.
1500 block of Elizabeth Avenue. Fixed.
Intersection of Ford Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. Fixed.
Jackson Boulevard, adjacent to the Ford Avenue-Jackson Boulevard hole. Fixed.
1710 Jackson Blvd., gutter in front of an office. Fixed.
1700 block of Jackson Boulevard, 75 feet along the east half of the street. Fixed.
1700 block of Jackson Boulevard, a bit less than 100 feet long, stretched across the street from sidewalk to sidewalk. Fixed after $140,000 in repairs.
1213 Elizabeth Ave. alley. Not fixed.
1201 Elizabeth Ave. On private property. Not fixed.
1700 block of Jackson Boulevard, under new water pipes. One fixed; the other to be fixed.
East Lake Boulevard, under tire cage at Tire City. On private property. Filled in.
1500 block of Pinson Street, around The Keg restaurant. One behind the site not fixed; one in front and the other, just south of The Keg, fixed.
1700 block of Pinson Street, under new water lines. Not fixed
1800 Pinson Street, in front of Parr's old auto shop. On private property. Filled in.
1800 Pinson St. Parr's storage lot. On private property. Filled.
1800 block of Pinson Street, between this block and Alabama 79. Private property, but in the city's drainage easement. Filled in, but the sinkhole has eaten the fill and reopened. City plans to do the work again.
1816 Pinson St., lot adjacent to Barrington Realty. On private property. Filled in.
1840 Pinson St., parking lot facing Bethel Avenue, into the public street. Filled in, then sinkhole recurred. Now fixed.
1800 block of Pinson Valley Parkway, alley between Pinson Street and Pinson Valley Parkway. Fixed. Parking lot behind City Hall. Fixed.
300 block of Clow Lane. Fixed.
1700 block of Jackson Boulevard (2). One is fixed, the other is to be repaired.
1100 block of Elizabeth Avenue, parking lot at Tarrant Post Office. Fixed.
1500 block of Pinson Street. In process of being fixed.

And another Birmingham News story:

Birmingham News
October 22, 2008
Sinkhole repairs sinking into Tarrant budget
DANA JAFFE News staff writer
 
The city of Tarrant has had to repair yet another sinkhole caused by the drought.

The most recent one, on Pinson Street, cost $112,000 for Parrot Construction to fix. The Tarrant Street Department had to rebuild the street, too before it could be reopened. Mayor Loxcil Tuck said this was the seventh sinkhole repaired, and the process has taken its toll on the city. ''People can't even drive through the city while the sink holes are being worked on,'' Tuck said.

At least two more remain that will have to be taken care of in the coming months. One is in the alley between Jackson and Virginia streets and the other in a drainage ditch between Pinson Street and Alabama 79.

Tuck said the city has already spent $350,000. ''Sure it is affecting our budget,'' she said. ''We are not going to be able to do many things we could've otherwise done this year.''
djaffe@bhamnews.com

Why are all of these happening within a mile or less radius of the quarry and nowhere else in Tarrant?

The map link of the I-59/20 area that has problems:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=birmingham+mining+pits&mrt=yp&sll=33.435453,-86.893616&sspn=0.249259,0.441513&ie=UTF8&hq=mining+pits&hnear=Birmingham,+AL&t=h&ll=33.522041,-86.857138&spn=0.016171,0.026479&z=15

Same question, why so many in the area of the quarry?

The map link of the 1-65 sinkhole 2010:

http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=UTF-8&q=google+maps+vulcan+materials+falkville+quarry&ie=UTF8&hl=en&hq=google+maps+vulcan+materials+falkville+quarry&hnear=&t=h&source=embed&ll=34.345349,-86.893444&spn=0.032032,0.052958&z=14

The accompanying story with map confirming location and video of repair:

http://blog.al.com/breaking/2010/03/traffic_slows_to_a_crawl_on_in.html

I am not against progress and understand the need for quarries, but why the taxpayers, state, counties and communities continue to be "on the hook" for these damages is the issue I raise. Millions of dollars are being spent on this.

The incidence of sinkholes with nearby quarries seems to be connected somehow. They should be held responsible, not the taxpayers.

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Scott5114

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Re: Alabama Roads and sinkholes
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 01:36:35 PM »

Correlation does not imply causation. It's entirely possible that quarries are specifically located in karst terrain, and sinkholes are caused by the same terrain. You will find more sinkholes in areas with quarries, but it's probably not the quarries causing it--it's just that quarries operate in the same kinds of limestone-rich terrain that sinkholes form in.

Sort of like how you're going to see lots of deer-crossing signs in a deer-rich area. The signs aren't causing the deer.

Moving thread to the off-topic board. "Welcome" is for introductory posts ("Hi, I am X") and site-related questions or problems.
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MaxShelby

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Re: Alabama Roads and sinkholes
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2010, 02:18:28 PM »

I apologize for posting in an incorrect area. Thank you for letting me know.

I must respectfully disagree with you that "correlation does not imply causation."

The geological studies in our area clearly do show a causation by quarries with increased subsidence and sinkhole development, in comparison to the surrounding terrain from massive ground water withdrawal due to mining, drilling and pumping.

John G. Newton, for one, has written extensively on this.

From one of several of Mr. Newton's geological surveys in Shelby County, "Case History No 911" page 246:

"Dewatering or the continuous withdrawal of large quantities of water from carbonate rocks by wells, quarries and mines in numerous areas in Alabama is associated with extremely active sinkhole development. Numerous collapses in these areas contrast sharply with their lack of occurrence elsewhere."


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Scott5114

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Re: Alabama Roads and sinkholes
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2010, 03:13:31 PM »

I must respectfully disagree with you that "correlation does not imply causation."

That's a ballsy position to admit to, considering it's a rather well-known phrase in the sciences and taking correlation to always mean causation is the definition of the "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" logical fallacy.

But then, as you point out, there have been studies to prove the link in this case. Perhaps what the property owners suffering damages need to do is file a class-action suit against the quarry. Get this Newton guy in there to make the case that the quarry is causing the sinkholes. Easiest way to have the quarry owners reimburse them.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Alabama Roads and sinkholes
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2010, 08:57:31 PM »

The signs aren't causing the deer.

damn.

time to cancel that order for "large suitcases full of money XING" signs.
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MaxShelby

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Re: Alabama Roads and sinkholes
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2010, 09:58:01 PM »

How would the property owners for the 1-65 sinkhole be determined? How about the 1-59/20 interstate? Those areas belong to the state.

It is the taxpayers and state that are affected, it is commerce that depends on our state highways to deliver their goods, not simply private property owners.

I am sure Mr. Newton would be helpful if we could figure out a way to re animate him, he passed years ago.

I am a bit confused as to why this was moved to an off topic forum that "has nothing to do with roads."

This has everything to do with roads.

I have to agree with Max.  Topic moved to General Highway Talk.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 11:47:55 PM by bugo »
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