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Sinkhole opens up in city street

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jun 06, 2016

A sinkhole that opened up in the middle of a city street is creating a hazard for drivers in one Lansing neighborhood.

It's on Pattengill Avenue near the intersection with Woodbine, a spot the city tried to patch up before but those fixes didn't hold.

Carl Asplaugh lives around the corner from there. He says it started out as pothole but he didn't realize it caved into a sinkhole until he hit it.

"It just kind of startled me," he said.

Asplaugh then took it upon himself to make sure that didn't happen to anyone else.

"I stood out here and pointed it out to people as they come across the street here so they wouldn't hit it," he said.

It's a spot the city is well aware of. Crews have put multiple patches on it when it was a pothole. The most recent fix only lasted a week until it caved in.

"Sometimes over a very short period of time they can change drastically," explained Lansing Public Service Director Chad Gamble.

According to Gamble, putting in asphalt works in most cases. That then lets the city prioritize other projects.

"We could spend a lot of money chasing what we don't know so we will put some asphalt in this area and continue to monitor it ," he added.

Now that its become a sinkhole, it's not the only one the city is dealing with. Gamble says there are 20 sinkholes crews have to fix and getting to all of them takes time.

"Every year we have backlogs of sinkholes and we prioritize those based on the location, the amount of traffic the proximity to schools," he explained.

Gamble says finding what's causing the problem isn't an easy process.

"We go to manholes within the area and videotape the sewers and or lamp the sewers to see and ensure that those sewers are in clean and normal operating conditions," he said.

For now the area is blocked off, and one lane on Pattengill is open to drivers. The Public Service Department is planning on getting a crew out to check it out within a couple of days.

Until that happens Asplaugh will just have to keep swerving.

The city relies on neighbors to let the Public Service Department know when a new sinkhole opens up. Someone will at least come out to mark it with a cone until it can be repaired if you call it in.