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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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 fixed1800 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:
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 email@example.comWhy 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=15Same 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.