Massive sinkhole re-opens in Asheville

News

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – In June, we reported a massive sinkhole had opened in the parking lot of a vacant building on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville.

The sinkhole re-opened and the City of Asheville issued a statement.

The sinkhole is located on private property, and it is up to property owners to have it fixed.

The City of Asheville is now letting residents know more about what private property owners’ engineers have told them.

The City of Asheville released the following statement:

Following the July 11 flash flooding at the commercial strip mall parking lot at 944 Merrimon Ave. (Fresh Market), Asheville Development Services staff visited the site of the 1010 Merrimon Ave. sinkhole. DSD staff met with the owner, engineer (and team) and their attorney to again discuss the situation and the needed repair.

City staff again told the property owner he needed to secure the site to prevent the public from accessing it, for the safety of all. The property owner erected a chain-link fence around the site and put up “no trespassing” signs.

DSD staff also spoke with the property manager for 946 Merrimon Ave., the Fresh Market. Staff shared information about the repair process and the property owner’s proposed temporary and permanent design solutions.
 
Also on Friday, July 12, the engineer submitted a permit request for temporary fix to the City — a bypass pipe, if you will. The bypass pipe will be secured with large stones as backfill and these will be topped with coarse gravel.  This is to keep the pipe in place and help support the building.
The engineer’s proposed plan for a permanent repair: Replace the pipe from the catch basin in front of Ski Country Sport to a new junction box at the property line of 1010 Merrimon Ave. and Early Girl Eatery.  However, the engineer has advised that it will take a month for the materials to be fabricated and delivered to the site.
 
About the backfill that has already occurred, the City has a policy that allows for emergency repairs without permits and that is the temporary emergency repair that the engineer hired by the property owner chose to do — fill in the sinkhole in this manner. The engineer chose this emergency repair to stabilize the foundation and structural integrity of the building on the site, as well as secure the property for public safety.
This temporary repair was a measure taken to save the building but had other unintended results, including washing material into nearby wetlands/bird sanctuary. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Notice of Violation to the property owner regarding the material that washed downstream.

City of Asheville

Read full statement here.

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