Early Morning Sinkhole Creates Problems on I-89

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 05/22 2014 06:25PM

Updated 05/22 2014 06:28PM

MILTON, Vt.- A large sinkhole appeared in the southbound lane of I-89 near Milton early Thursday morning.

And while it caused delays during the morning commute VTrans says sinkholes are becoming a more common problem.

Every day the roads take a beating.

“It’s been one little thing after another, said Dave Blackmore with the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

Blackmore says between Irene and major spring flooding, the last few years have been especially harsh.

“We had fairly substantial rains this spring also coming out of a really heavy snowy year so there are lots of volumes of water that is being conveyed from one side of the road to the other through these structures,” said Blackmore.

Thursday morning all that wear and tear lead to a sinkhole on I-89 southbound between exits 17 and 18 near Milton.
The hole was more than four feet across and more than four feet deep.

“It’s becoming more common in Vermont it seems like,” said Blackmore.

And Blackmore says the aging roads are to blame.

“This section was built in the latter 1960's. All these structures have a lifespan and we are seeing them nearing or exceeding the lifespan that they have,” said Blackmore.

While the sinkhole is filled up for now, Blackmore says the study continues to figure out what exactly caused the sinkhole to happen in this area in the first place and how to fix it.

“There's new technologies out there that not only give you tools to replace in kind, or replace without disturbing the soils, or in some cases we do have to cut and put a whole and put a new structure in,” said Blackmore.

There is a plan in place to replace some of the older sections of the highway such as that stretch of I-89; but in the meantime Blackmore says other problems just keep popping up.

“No matter how much you plan, it always seems that you have something else jump to the top of the list.

Blackmore says the hole is temporarily repaired for now but in just a few weeks crews will get back in there and create a more permanent solution.

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