MOUNDSVILLE - Drivers may want to add a few minutes when planning their morning commutes while the Jefferson Avenue Extension remains closed after a large sinkhole was discovered Wednesday afternoon.
Moundsville Sanitary Superintendent Larry Bonar said crews from the state Division of Highways discovered the 8-foot-deep hole near the American Electric Power substation while patching potholes in the area. Bonar said the hole was created when the bricks on the side of a manhole for a sanitary collection line gave way.
"It's a main line and drains into town, so there's a lot of flow in it," Bonar said. "We're having a contracted construction crew to do the work, because they can do it faster and safer than our own men."
Crews inspect a large sinkhole Thursday near First Street in Moundsville.
Savage Construction Co. in Wheeling will be making the repairs, which are scheduled to begin today. Bonar estimated the work should be completed in about a week. Water and sewage customers should not be affected.
Mayor Eugene Saunders said while the impacted area is a state road, the city will more than likely pay for at least a portion of the work.
He said while there is no official determination as to what caused the sinkhole to form, the amount of traffic that section of town sees on a daily basis surely played a role in the collapse.
"We've been trying to get truck traffic off of Jefferson Avenue for months," Saunders said.
He said city officials have asked the Division of Highways to look at alternate routes for trucks seeking access to U.S. 250, which runs into First Street and the Jefferson Avenue Extension.
"We'd like to see traffic go farther down Lafayette Avenue (W.Va. 2)," he said. "In the meantime, we are doing everything we can" to take care of the sinkhole.
Marshall County Office of Emergency Management Director Tom Hart said emergency service issues are being handled on an as-needed basis, with the 911 dispatch advising crews of the situation. He said any other issues are being handled by the city and Division of Highways.
Motorists must use alternative routes until the repairs are completed. Drivers coming down First Street should take Second Street to Jefferson Avenue and anyone driving down Tomlinson Avenue should take Second Street to Grant Avenue.