VAN BUREN, Ark. (KFSM) — The City of Van Buren is currently dealing with a sinkhole that appeared in the northbound lane of 4th Street near I-540.
The City had to direct traffic for a short time while they patched the hole with a metal plate and the road is back open now.
The city believes the floodwater had caused a sewer line under the road to sink a little, but they do not think the sinkhole is growing. The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) will be investigating it further tomorrow. The road was closed down to one lane from about 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. tonight.
Danny Straessle, spokesman for ArDOT, says the hole is about a foot-deep in depression. He says there will be another lane closure sometime tomorrow while they try to repair it.
According to Garrett, here's what's happening:
Sinkholes are common as a flood recedes on the "dry side" of the levee. Thank goodness our levee in VB held.
Flood sinkholes form when the soil or substrate underground dissolves. This usually happens in the vicinity of a buried pipe or pump.
Not surprisingly, there appears to be a station nearby with buried pipes. This area has been filled and the lane is now open.
With sand boils... the water from the river is pushing UP on the water table and causing fresh/clear water to come out of the ground. Emergency Management has actively been looking for these. The way to stop the pressure is to apply sandbag piles or rings around the water hole in a circle. You'll see something like this out by the sod farm and Gun Club Road off 59.
With pressure going down... sand boils will be less common.
Sinkholes could become more common as water drains back into the river and the dissolved soil goes with it.
If you see one, stay away from it and notify the local emergency management or Arkansas/Oklahoma Highway Department.