Harrison city working to fill in sinkhole next to house

HARRISON, Ark. - Two sinkholes in the past two years opened up in a yard right next to a home on Chelsea Circle in Harrison.

The first one opened up last April, and the city filled it.

But another one opened up next to it just a few months ago, and it took down a shed.

GeoEngineers came in June to run tests.

"It'll tell us how big the hole is, what the configuration is, and that will help us decide how to seal it permanently," said Principal GeoEngineer Gary Pendergrass at the time.

That report helped the public works director determine how far down to dig.

"Right now we're sitting around 27-to-30-feet deep, and we started reaching the rock ledge that we've been looking for, so we think we're getting pretty close," said Harrison Public Works Director Wade Phillips.

The recent rain has been both a blessing and a curse for the project.

"Got a lot of water in it right now that is actually draining out of the bottom," Phillips said. "The rain is slowing us down, but it's also helped us get an idea of where that water is going. Once it dries out enough, we've got a real good idea of where we need to continue digging to get to where we need to."

He hopes this will be a permanent solution.

"Using various sizes of rock from larger, very large at the bottom to a lot smaller at the top," Phillips said. "And then we'll put a cap and do some erosion control at the top to keep that from opening back up."

But it is a costly solution as well.

"A little over $13,000 shoring up. Putting some piers underneath the house that's adjacent to the sinkhole. And with the rain we've received, we're very glad we did that," he said.

And they're trying to get it done as quickly as possible.

"It's a safety issue. It's a very large hole. We've got it fenced off, but that doesn't stop people from being curious," the public works director said.

If the weather cooperates, the city hopes to have the project completed in the next couple weeks.