Heavy rain sends highway department to repair sinkhole

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

Three straight days of rain has taken its toll on Powder Branch Road in western Carter County.
   Around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, a sink hole was discovered on Powder Branch Road near the Oak Grove subdivision, sending the Carter County Highway Department to work for eight hours to repair it and restore traffic flow.
   Jack Perkins, superintendent of the highway department, said Wednesday afternoon the problem was reported to 911 Emergency Communications Center after an accident had occurred due to the sinkhole. The sinkhole slowed traffic and forced motorists to use one lane of road until early afternoon.
   "The hole was about 35 feet long, involved about 12 feet of pavement and 4 feet deep," said Perkins.
   Eight workers placed 15 tons of rock into the hole, then used eighteen tons of asphalt to cover it. Traffic returned to normal by early afternoon.
   The sink hole will have a final coat of pavement applied next week as part of a highway department paving project.
   The rain has caused headaches and early morning hours for many employees. Crews as early as 1 a.m. Wednesday began work when fallen trees were reported on Morey Hyder Road and Reynolds Road. Despite rain accumulating around the region, other problems handled by the highway department have been minor, according to Perkins.
   "If you do see a cone beside the road, flagmen or blinkers, slow down and give us a break," he advised motorists. Perkins said that if motorists notice fallen trees or sink holes after highway department office hours, they should call 911, and a dispatcher will notify the crew member on call.