Massive sinkhole closes main road in St. George

Posted at 6:40 PM, Sep 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-23 11:27:47-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah - A corroded storm drain pipe is the cause of a sinkhole that appeared Friday night on Sunset Boulevard, according to engineers.

The massive hole will cause traffic delays on the major road while the city decides the best way to fix it.

The 20-foot wide, 15-foot deep hole took out part of the shoulder and sidewalk.

The hole surfaced when the front tire of a fueling truck fell into the ground as it was pulling out of a gas station on the corner of Sunset and Valley View Drive.

“The weight of the semitruck tire punched through and exposed the hole,” said Marc Mortensen, spokesman for St. George City. “A corroded corrugated storm drain pipe, an 84-inch line that essentially collapsed. And given the heavy rains the past month or so, it enlarged the size of the sinkhole.”

The city estimates this sinkhole has probably been forming underneath Sunset Boulevard for the last couple of months.

The storm drain system allows water to be redirected to other areas, which will assure that the hole won’t get worse in any future storms, Mortensen said.

“At this point in time we’re deciding on the best course of action,” Mortensen said.

The options include replacing the broken section of pipe, or redirecting the line.

Mortensen said the installation of a new interchange 200 feet away at Sunset and Bluff Street could play into that decision.

Eric Andersen owns Snowbird Haven RV, located on Sunset where the sinkhole appeared.

He said it’s fortunate they didn’t lose more of the street, because it’s a major commuter route.

“I hope they get it done quick and we can let people know that we’re still open for business,” Andersen said.

The hole is currently covered up and secured.

Mortensen said the city should make a decision on repairs within the next couple of days.