Lenoir sinkholes could cost millions to repair

by: Dave Faherty Updated:

LENOIR, N.C. —


Sinkholes across downtown Lenoir could cost the city nearly $6 million to repair. This summer's heavy rain damaged one of the city's oldest drainage lines close to where two one-way streets merge and create a funnel of traffic through downtown.

Drivers may not even see something wrong unless they get out of their vehicles.

"It is crazy to charge a million dollars for that," said Julio Jaurez, resident. "That is nothing"

From above ground, it is difficult to see how the small holes like the ones along West Avenue could cost so much to fix.
City of Lenoir officials said the 8-foot diameter line was built more than 70 years ago.

There are cracks in the walls and ceiling where the pipe had corroded, causing the pavement above to sink.

"The infrastructure is getting pretty old," said Buddy Detter, resident. "This is the second sinkhole we've had here in the last couple of months."

City leaders are in the early stages of making repairs, and it may be next year before they begin.

They have $3 million in reserve funding, but spending it all on the storm-drainage line would eat up one-third of those funds that are set up for emergencies.

Wet weather over the summer is to blame, according to some residents.

"We've had a lot of rain," said Wayne Cassavaugh, resident. "A lot of things washed out."

Another resident, Anthony Tilley, said, "It's going to hurt the taxpayers a lot."