West Virginia sinkhole threatens to swallow police department

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This has gone from pothole to hellhole.

A West Virginia police station is under threat — as it’s about to be swallowed up by a giant sinkhole that opened up in the parking lot due to a water drain problem.

A Facebook video shared by the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) on Wednesday shows the Hinton Police Department teetering on the edge of the gapping maw.

The hole first appeared in June 2021 above a failing water drain, WVNS reported. Initially, it was six feet wide and 30 feet deep.

As it continued to grow, officials eventually met to discuss repair options in July of this year. Speaking to The Post Friday afternoon, a clerk with the Hinton Police Department said the department was forced to relocate “a few months ago” as the sinkhole spread.

Recent heavy rainfalls from Hurricane Nicole only exacerbated the issue – forcing students at the nearby school were forced to learn remotely on Monday.

The sinkhole is now threatening to swallow the Hinton Police Department.
The sinkhole is now threatening to swallow the Hinton Police Department.
West Virginia Department of Tran

“The rain we received over the weekend enlarged the hole drastically,” State Senator Stephen Baldwin wrote in Facebook post Monday. “This is a very serious matter and is being treated as such by DOH, the city, and the school system. School buses travel this road each day carrying our most precious resource. We must do everything possible to protect their safety.” 

The WVDOT subsequently confirmed that a temporary 125-foot bridge will be installed at the site.

“It will be a fast process — our guys will work as long as they have to each day,” said Joe Pack, a deputy state highway engineer, in a press conference. “It is our goal to make this as quick and painless as possible, so that everyone can then drive across a structure they feel is safe and they have no more concerns or worries.”

The police headquarters were forced to relocate a few months ago.
The police headquarters were forced to relocate a few months ago.
West Virginia Department of Tran

Baldwin shared in his own Facebook update Wednesday that a longterm solution had been decided and was up for bid “ASAP.”

“[The repair] will cost around $5 million,” he said. “The state will pay for it.”

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) states that sinkholes can occur when water enters the ground without adequate drainage and dissolve the rock below the surface. They are more common in areas where the rock below ground is limestone, carbonate rock, and salt beds.

Earlier this year, The Post reported on the uptick in sinkholes in New York City, which officials attributed in part to global warming.

“I think what’s playing out is how the climate crisis is hitting the city in ways that we might not have even considered,” vice president of energy and environment for the Regional Plan Association Robert Freudenberg said at the time.

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