Sinkhole Strikes Humphrey

Allan Appel PhotoEmergency crews swung into action Friday to fill in an unusual sinkhole that opened up in the wake of Winter Storm Pax.

The sinkhole opened up around 12:30 p.m. Friday in the westbound lane of Humphrey just west of State Street.

It was about 2 feet wide and nearly a perfect circle. The police called public works.

Acting Supervisor of Streets Lynwood Dorsey arrived first on the scene in his pickup up truck. He set up an orange cone for oncoming traffic to avoid the hole. And he called in a crew with cold patch to make a temporary repair.

Dorsey, a 25-year veteran of the Department of Public Works, said sinkholes are common in the warm weather.  The one that popped up Friday was very unusual, he said; it was the first of this winter. Sinkholes occur when the gravel that sits on the dirt settles, and the asphalt sinks. All of last year there were 12 sinkholes citywide, he said. There’s no pattern to them, he said. Many occur on the west side of town.

Twenty minutes later Domingo Rogers arrived driving a payloader with about 4 tons of cold patch in its long rectangular bucket.

DPW Laborer Dave Lawlor took the rake and shovel and spread the dumped asphalt over the hole. He used about half the cold-patch load.

Dorsey called for the payloader to flatten the asphalt by rolling over it.

After Rogers drove over the hole once, Lawlor added more patch so there’d be enough to squish into the apertures to the sides and below the surface. The payloader made two more passes, and the filled hole appeared packed down.

“That’s beautiful. It’s safe for traffic,” said Dorsey.

The permanent repair will be made around May, he added.

Then he and the crew, including the payloader, went off to the intersection of Prospect and Sachem, where their next task was removing snow in the run-up to a big Yale hockey game at Ingalls Rink.

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posted by: poetbum on February 14, 2014  5:12pm

Love these little stories.  I actually saw the work being done; wondered what was up.

posted by: Joe City on February 14, 2014  6:05pm

Those guys are supposed to wear safety vests.