Hart Sinkhole Repair Is a Huge Project, Says DOT

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

The Georgia Department of Transportation is taking construction bids to repair the sinkhole on State Route 51/Reed Creek Highway in Hart County.

DOT Spokesperson Teri Pope said an overview of a repair plan has been developed.

But she said the problem is the enormity of the repairs involved.

“It’s a very complicated repair because of the length and size of the pipe that runs under the roadway,” Pope said. “The pipe is 10ft tall, 150ft long and is buried 35-40 ft under the roadway. So, just to get to that pipe and repair that pipe and roadway is a huge project.”

Also, Pope said part of the 10 foot culvert pipe is in the water.

She said that means crews will have to build a temporary dam on either side of the pipe so they have a dry place in which to work.

“The pipe is four feet under the water on either end in the lake,” Pope explained. “So they have to build a dry spot to work, plus you have all that pressure from the lake water against that temporary structure. The City of Atlanta has sink holes all the time that are five feet deep or eight feet deep and there’s a broken pipe they have to fix. This project is much, much bigger and far more complicated than that. So, it is a big, big deal.”

Pope said the project is so big, it is outside the scope of what G-DOT can do.

DOT District Engineer Bayne Smith said the work requires very specialized skills, equipment and materials.

Smith said his office has already met with four contractors to discuss the work, but so far there is still no timeframe for repairs or an estimated cost.

In the meantime, that stretch of State Route 51/Reed Creek Highway in Hart County will remain closed to all traffic.

A detour is in place and motorists should follow the detour signs to get around the area.