A water main break in Cherokee County caused a major sinkhole to form under East Cherokee Drive at Holly Springs Road early Thursday morning.
Cherokee County Sheriff spokesman Lt. Jay Baker said that the water main break was called in a little after 2 a.m., on Thursday morning. As deputies closed the road, the asphalt began to sink.
Then the road collapsed.
“Fortunately, we were getting calls about it when water was coming through the road,” Baker said. “If it had just happened, it could have been deadly for somebody who drove into it.”
The Cherokee County Water and Sewage Authority turned off water for about five houses in the area. Spokesman Dwight Turner said a 20-foot section of PVC pipe had split under East Cherokee Drive, causing water to leak out of the road.
“[The pipe] is probably 30 years old or older,” he said. “We’ve been replacing PVC pipe with ductile iron pipe for many, many years and we will continue to. But we haven’t gotten it all done yet. And that’s just one of the things that happens.”
Ductile iron pipes are thought to last for several decades, Turner said.
Turner said the water department is trying to get the water turned back on by 9 a.m., Thursday morning.
Baker said the road could open up late this afternoon, but stressed that it wasn’t a guarantee.
“The road is shut down and will likely be shut down most of the day,” he said. “Fortunately, there are a lot of routes in this area to circumvent this spot.”
Mac Rogan lives down the street from where the sinkhole formed. He said he was leaving home to take his daughter to daycare when he came across the hole at the end of his street.
“It’s an enormous sinkhole just kind of right at the end of the intersection that kind of impedes traffic going down East Cherokee Drive,” Rogan said. “It very much is concerning.”
Rogan said East Cherokee Drive is a busy road and that the sinkhole blocks traffic trying to get to Georgia Highway 5 — another commonly travelled road in the area.
“This is going to be a significant impact on traffic until they get hole fixed,” he said.