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Sinkhole closes 5th Avenue bridge for at least 4 weeks

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The discovery of a sinkhole and the subsequent repair of a sewer line that caused it will close the new 5th Avenue bridge into Guyandotte for at least the next four weeks.

Jay Edwards, an inspector with the Huntington Sanitary Board, said Tuesday the sinkhole was discovered about three weeks ago near the floodwall on the Huntington side. It was confirmed by the use of a camera put in the hole to survey the damage.

The 20-foot section to be replaced is 5 feet high, 6 feet wide and 35 feet deep. The estimated cost is $300,000, with emergency funds being used to pay for it.

Edwards said vehicular traffic on the bridge and roadway was never in danger and also said the construction of the bridge and a section of the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health -- which is on the Guyandotte side -- did not play a part in the sinkhole.

He said it is just the age of the brick main sewer, which was built in 1915.

"This is aging infrastructure," Edwards said. "People are facing this all over the country..."

The sewer carries excess rainwater into the river. Edwards said if there is major rainfall, water will still be able to travel and shouldn't back up the system.

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