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Repairs continue on South Campbell sinkhole in Springfield

Published: May. 7, 2021 at 6:39 PM CDT|Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 6:53 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Workers from Springfield Public Works are still trying to decide how best to deal with a sinkhole that formed Thursday on South Campbell in Springfield.

The sinkhole appeared about 15 feet from the edge to the street. On a busy street in Springfield, it’s something you don’t see every day.

Jan Patel, a manager at the South Campbell Dairy Queen, had just gotten to work when he noticed something didn’t look right in the grass between the parking lot and the street. “So I went over there and I looked, and was like, ‘Wow, it’s a sinkhole,’”

He found himself staring into a gaping hole in the ground, with water gushing out.

“Yeah, it was scary, because when I was walking up to the edge and I was just like, ‘No!,’ so it was really scary.”

The hole was about six feet wide and twelve feet deep. The water was coming from a broken water line. Public works officials say they still don’t know if the broken water main caused the ground to collapse or if the collapsing ground caused the water main to break.

Because of the karst topography of the Ozarks, sinkholes are not uncommon, according to Joel Alexander, spokesperson for Springfield City Utilities.

“You never really know exactly where they might pop up, especially with the rains that we’ve had. But very fortunate, this one wasn’t a little more to the west,” he said.

Alexander says if you come across a sinkhole that presents a danger, don’t get too close, and call 911.

“There is a healthy distance you want to stay away from something like that,” Alexander said. “They form for a reason, you just don’t know how loose that dirt is around there. It might continue to collapse, so you want to stay away from those.”

Kristin Milam, from the Public Works department, told KY3 News that the large concentration of underground water, gas and electric lines area around and in the sinkhole are slowing down progress on closing up the hole.

“We need to be sure what caused the hole to form before we know the best way to prevent it from happening again,” Milan said.

City officials say they believe the area around the sinkhole is not presenting any danger to the public at this point.

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