01/03/13 — Sinkholes discovered near Streetscape lights

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Sinkholes discovered near Streetscape lights

By John Joyce
Published in News on January 3, 2013 1:46 PM

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Jose Castaneda of Daniels and Daniels Construction places a layer of topsoil on top of the sinkhole he had just filled next to a light pole on Center Street.

Concerns expressed in recent weeks by local business operators about sinkholes surrounding at least five new light poles near the roundabout on East Ash Street and on North Center Street -- part of the Center Street Streetscape project -- were addressed by the city Wednesday and today as the holes were filled and the pole foundations firmed up.

The sinkholes had worsened over the last few days because of rain.

Keith Smith, an engineer and construction inspector for the city of Goldsboro, was out Wednesday spraying the grass surrounding the holes with orange paint as a precaution. Cones had already been set up to alert traffic.

"The contractor has been out," Smith said later, "and said his guys would try to get to it today, but it should be fixed no later than (Thursday)."

Daniels and Daniels Construction Co. is responsible for the project, which is covered in its entirety by a one-year warranty.

The final paperwork on the project is still being completed and the contractor has not yet been paid in full, Smith pointed out, so the cost of the repairs will be included in the original cost of the project, the finally tally for which is still being calculated.

The project, according to the city finance office, was originally budgeted for $1.3 million. With two change orders tacked on during the project, the final budget was increased to $1,520,651. The city hopes that when all is said and done the final cost will be under that amount.

Smith also addressed other concerns of some of the Center Street business owners about the possibility of erosion caused by the sinkholes and whether that could lead to the two streets being compromised later on down the line.

"There is no erosion under the roadway. The (dirt under the road) is compacted and then rock put over it," Smith said.

Smith emphasized that none of the effects from the holes developing under and around the light poles will affect the streets or the electrical conduits for the lights, all of which run to one central point. He also said that the holes represented more of a landscaping issue rather than a construction concern. The cement mounts protecting each pole are about 2-3 feet wide and 7-8 feet deep, Smith said.

A dip in the eastbound lane of Ash Street, right where the roundabout crosses over North Center Street, according to the city's engineering office, is by design.

The grade, or height of the rock underneath the paved roadway, city officials said, was higher on Ash Street before the project was undertaken. The grade on Center Street was lower and had to be tamped down the entire stretch of the redone portion of Center Street and then brought back up where it joins Mulberry Street.