by: Mark Becker Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The state's Department of Transportation is trying to figure out who will have to pay to repair a culvert that gave way under a parking lot in north Charlotte early Friday morning causing a sinkhole that swallowed up a retaining wall and sidewalk.
The culvert carries Little Sugar Creek under the old Tryon Mall and along North Tryon Street. A caller reported that the retaining wall had collapsed there about 1 a.m.
By 10 a.m., the NC DOT and other agencies had engineers on the scene, trying to find out what had caused the collapse.
"Right now we don't know. There's a culvert that runs under here but it's too early to tell," said Jeff Littlefield, who supervises maintenance for the NC DOT in Mecklenburg County.
Littlefield said late Friday that they had managed to look under the roadway and saw that the culvert had collapsed, but were not sure if it was under private property or public right of way, so they weren't sure who would have to pay for the repairs.
Either way Littlefield said the work would not begin before Tuesday and would require a contractor that specializes in major bridge repair work.
"We'll definitely have to excavate it and at very least put in a new junction box, but again we'll know more once we get in the culvert," Littlefield said.
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