Princeton Avenue sinkhole repaired again

Feb. 10—By GREG JORDAN

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Heavy equipment and portable traffic lights were hauled away Friday morning after a highway work crew finished filling and sealing off a sinkhole which has hampered travelers for years.

Situated near Goins Gas & Produce LLC at 2320 Princeton Avenue near Bluefield, the sinkhole opened up back in September 2018 after heavy rain drenched the region. West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH) crews had to close a lane and make repairs.

A WVDOH crew started working at the sinkhole site again in late January. Portable traffic lights were erected at both ends of the site while the repairs were underway.

On Friday morning, the heavy equipment and the portable traffic control stations were hauled away. The road still swerves around the sinkhole site and the speed limit remains at 15 mph.

Ryland Musick, District 10 Engineer, said WVDOH crews have repaired the Princeton Avenue sinkhole.

Crews have cleaned out what was buried, replaced a gabion basket wall on the outside of the sinkhole, installed steel rebar in the bottom of the sinkhole and poured concrete to fill it, he stated.

More work remains to be done. The project's final stage will be to repave the road, which is expected in early spring, Musick said.

Goins Gas was between the two traffic lights while the work was underway. Owner Charles Goins III said his clientele was sometimes wary about stopping by because the temporary red lights made them nervous about pulling into and leaving his parking lot. Goins would watch traffic for them.

The WVDOH originally predicted that the sinkhole repairs would be finished by mid February.

Goins said Friday between serving customers that he understood the plan is to eventually shift the lanes back to their former spot. He was surprised by how soon the sinkhole was filled and sealed.

"I was impressed by the way they got in and got out," he said.

Sinkholes form in areas where the stone underground is made up of limestone and other rock that dissolves naturally when groundwater circulates through it, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. When this rock dissolves, spaces and caverns form underground. Land above a sinkhole usually stays intact until the hole gets too big to support it.

In one recent example, the WVDOH had to do repairs along Route 20 in Hinton when a sinkhole opened up there in June 2023.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com