A sinkhole collapsed Monday afternoon near the intersection of Cave Mill and Smallhouse roads causing traffic to be re-routed for about two hours while Bowling Green City Public Works personnel worked to resurface the hole.
Crews finished patching up the 6-foot sinkhole by filling it with gravel at about 3 p.m. at the busy intersection as vehicles maneuvered around it.
A temporary steel plate was put on top of the sinkhole until the beginning of next week when crews will return to complete the road repair, said Bowling Green City Public Works Director Jeff Lashlee.
“Bowling Green is notorious for having collapses like this, and we deal with 20 to 40 of these a year,” Lashlee said. “It varies sometimes more, sometimes less. Collapses like this take place in yards all over the place. It’s part of Bowling Green’s geology. We have karst geology. With that, the possibility of a collapse is present.
“We believe this could be a soil collapse and something we will address in days to come,” he said.
Rainy weather conditions, such as those seen in Bowling Green over the past weekend, seem to play a part in sinkholes collapsing, said Warren County Public Works Director Mac Yowell, whose crew also responded to Monday’s sinkhole.
Yowell said City Public Works crews had already begun working on the sinkhole by the time they arrived on scene.
“Whenever you have this much water, we have additional sinkholes here,” Yowell said. “It’s one of those things that happens in karst-type typography when we have rainfall.”
Sinkholes are a common occurrence in Warren County with the region being known for its karst landscape, said Western Kentucky University assistant professor of geosciences Dr. Jason Polk.
“Anytime we have big rain, you’ll see sinkholes opening up around Warren County,” Polk said. “Typically they’re not very large, they happen pretty commonly in any karst area.”
Lashlee said in this particular instance there were no visible signs of any kind of sinkholes during construction of the road.
“We will let it settle for a few days and then a permanent asphalt patch will be placed there,” Yowell said. “There will be a bump there until we get that final asphalt.”
The road reopened Monday afternoon and will remain open until the final asphalt is applied next week.
“It’s a natural thing, it’s going to happen whether we like it or not,” Polk said.