Road Equipment Blamed for 9-foot Sinkhole

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A sinkhole that recently opened up in Benton County is pitting a homeowner against local officials over who's at fault.

Karee Barrett, the homeowner, claims equipment used by Benton County road crews are at fault for a 9-foot sinkhole.

“So as I was coming out it was still just a little dark and I didn't quite see and I had my dog with me and I wasn't paying attention, and I wasn’t expecting this and I came about five feet from falling in it,” said Barrett.

The crew was working on the road, using a vibratory roller to compact gravel.

“The house was shaking, vibrating every window and I have never experienced that before with that. Then I looked out in the spring about within an hour there were plumes of mud that were coming out of the spring,” explained Barrett.

The sinkhole occurred two weeks after crews were done working on the road and the equipment didn’t cause the sinkhole, according to Benton County Judge, Bob Clinard.

“I’m saying that the county is not responsible for it,” said Clinard.“Sinkholes are a natural occurring event they all over the United States to say that one equipment vibratory roller caused it would be a stretch for me so, I don’t anticipate doing anything about it.”

Spring Creek runs beneath some of the Barrett`s property and there is already another sinkhole near their house.

Sinkholes are formed over time, but it`s possible the ground collapsed from the vibration of the equipment, according to Geologist Dr. Phillip Hays.

“It’s almost certain that the void itself has been forming for years, and it is possible that the vibration, the shaking that they were talking about might have been a trigger for the failure of the ceiling of that void,” explained Hays.

Springtown Mayor Paul Lemke told 5NEWS this sinkhole developed prior to any road construction.