Terra Nova sinkhole repairs complete; road open

Adam Randell
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Officials hope to have cause determined next week

As daylight broke a contract crew was on the scene conducting repairs to the broken section of road. Pictured, the crew readies the road for reopening.

As east coast rockers started their westward pilgrimage for a chance to glimpse Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry, coming into Terra Nova National Park those plans came to an abrupt halt for a couple of hours.

Although traffic is flowing in both lanes again, last night roughly 100 metres west of the TNNP compound, a sinkhole was discovered in a section of the Trans Canada Highway.

Jerry Feltham, acting asset operations manager for the park, prefers the term roadside cavity.

He said the cavity was noticed at 9:30 p.m. Thursday and was roughly two feet wide at the time, so safety officials assessed the scene, cordoned off the area and closed the eastbound lane to traffic.

By 3 a.m. the cavity continued to progress and, “it was determined the safest thing to do was close the road (both lanes),” Feltham said.

The cavity eventually ran out of steam leaving a four-metre-wide, five-metre-deep cone-shaped hole.

Because the park has road jurisdiction within its boundaries, Gonzo Wells, the park’s technical service officer, said as soon as daylight broke a contract crew was in place conducting repairs.

“Basically, we excavated within the vicinity of the cavity, and adjacent matter. It was removed as unsuitable matter and replaced it with rock fill to stabilize the road bed, then we had it compacted,” Wells said.

Neither could say what caused the cavity to occur.

It was noted there is a culvert in the area, which means water is passing underneath the road.

“There is a possibility of erosion from that because it is in a waterway, but I can’t say that was the cause,” Wells said.

Feltham said it’s a question that will have to be answered by the provincial Department of Transportation and Works.

“We are engaging (the department) to come in next week to do a full assessment, then we’ll figure out what the cause was,” he said.

Geographic location: Terra Nova

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