Large sinkhole opens up on I-240 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Large sinkhole opens up on I-240

Image of the sinkhole submitted to My 5 by Action News 5 photographer Mark King Image of the sinkhole submitted to My 5 by Action News 5 photographer Mark King
TDOT's SmartWay camera at Walnut Grove captured this image of the backup. TDOT's SmartWay camera at Walnut Grove captured this image of the backup.
Officials said the sinkhole was six feet deep. Officials said the sinkhole was six feet deep.

UPDATE 11:30am Thursday: TDOT has resumed work on the estimated 10 foot deep 30 foot wide sinkhole.  Officials have closed three lanes of northbound I-240 at Walnut Grove, leaving only one lane open to traffic Thursday. 

The latest estimate says the lanes will not reopen until Friday morning or later.  Long delays are expected and motorists are advised to find an alternate route. 

Click here for live traffic reports on WMCTV.com.


By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A patch of pavement in the center of the left lane of I-240 near Walnut Grove collapsed around 4 Wednesday afternoon, creating a massive sinkhole.

Drivers on I-240 did not know what hit them or what they had hit.

"It busted by back tire," said William Jarvis.  "Bent my rims and bent my axle."

Joyce Lyle's Toyota Camry also had its front axle broken.

"You're driving and you're talking and all of a sudden you go, 'what is going on?'," Lyles said.  "It was scary."

Brucie Postell, a passenger in the vehicle, was thankful the damage was not worse.

"They said if we had been going slower the care would have gone into the hole," Postell said.

TDOT crews had been out to the very same spot Wednesday to put asphalt on it.  The dip in the road only looked like a minor pothole at the time.

"There was a little dip right there and I was telling my brother they need to put something in there or it's going to sink," Jarvis said.

Once the hole did sink, it revealed that the dirt that should have been supporting the pavement had turned to mud due to an underground leak.

Drivers stranded on the interstate were less than sympathetic.

"They didn't do it right," one driver said.  "If you're going to fix a hole, fix it right the first time."

TDOT wanted to make sure the ground was sturdy before they let drivers back on this part of the road.

Click here for live traffic reports on WMCTV.com

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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