Sinkhole closes River Road in northeast Indianapolis - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Sinkhole closes River Road in northeast Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Police say a sinkhole has closed a road on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

The sinkhole is on River Road between 86th and 96th streets in the Castleton area. That stretch of the road has been closed by police.

DPW engineers visited the site first thing Wednesday morning to look at the sinkhole and determine a cause. Once that information is known, they'll have a better idea on the timetable for repairs.

Here's the latest info from DPW (noon Wednesday):

The Department of Public Works (DPW) has closed a section of River Road in the 9000 block south of 96th Street and north of 86th Street until further notice for repairs due to subgrade failure. Barricades and signage are in place at Delegates Row and Crystal Lake Drive, and drivers should use Keystone Avenue as their detour to the west and Allisonville Road as their detour to the east. Access points to subdivisions in the area are open. Any residents typically using Stone Bridge Drive to access their residences will need to use Knights Bridge Boulevard off of 96th Street. More details regarding length of closure and cause of subgrade failure will be available tomorrow morning upon further investigation by DPW engineers.

Police say four cars were damaged by the sinkhole, which is four feet wide and five feet deep. Three of the cars needed to be towed after driving over it.

The sinkhole brought out dozens of curious onlookers from nearby apartment communities, wondering what this would mean for traffic.

Even with River Road closed, one car happened to get past the barricades, nearly missing driving right into the sinkhole.

"If I saw a pothole that big, I wouldn't drive through it," said onlooker Natasha Thompson.

The Department of Public Works have placed barricades at Delegates Row and Crystal Lake Drive near the sinkhole. Drivers should use Keystone Avenue as a detour to the west and Allisonville Road to the east.

According to Dr. Bret Johnson, a Hydrologist who works at the U.S. Geological Survey, "True sinkholes are generally limited to the Mitchell Plateau of southern Indiana." 

Johnson's said heavy rains likely washed away the underlying materials that support the bridge deck. Once those were removed, "the asphalt of the deck could not support the traffic weight and collapsed into the underlying void."

The road will be closed until further notice. Access to subdivisions in the area are still open, but residents that use Stone Bridge Drive to access their homes are instructed to use Knights Bridge Boulevard off of 96th Street.

There was no estimate how long it would take crews to fix the sinkhole.

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