Relentless rain leads to massive sinkhole in Maiden

MAIDEN, N.C. — One road in Maiden was nearly swallowed up after a massive sinkhole opened beside it Wednesday night.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation had to shut down one lane of S. Eighth Ave. in Maiden.

Neighbors told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon on Thursday that they’ve lived in Maiden for 70 years and have never seen so much rain at once.

Lemon got next to the road to understand how big and deep the hole was.

Barrels guided drivers around the lane because about 15-20 feet of earth that was underneath the side of the street is now gone. The dropoff on the side of the road is deep and wide enough to swallow multiple cars.

Neighbors told Lemon they were stunned by the power of the storm and the damage left behind.

“It was disastrous,” said Raymond Clark, who has lived in a home up the hill for the past 50 years.

Clark said the problem started when the creek overflowed its banks during a downpour Wednesday.

“We’ve had hard rain, but not like it was yesterday,” Clark said.

He said for the first time, water breached a stone wall barrier between the creek and the street. That water then undermined part of the road.

Engineers with NCDOT believe the pipe designed to let water run under the road was overwhelmed.

“The pipe’s probably got some age on it and then all the rain and it just weakened the ground and it caved in,” said Jonathan Powell, a supervisor with NCDOT.

Our cameras saw roots and utility lines in the hole, but the pipe was either crushed or washed away.

“Just too much for it to handle,” Powell said.

Parts of North Carolina have received more than six inches of rain so far this month.

Powell hopes the rain expected to move through here this weekend doesn’t cause more problems.

NCDOT says it will work through the weekend to fix the problem in Maiden. They have to map out underground lines and get permission from land owners nearby before they can start the work.

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