Sunday 21 December 2014

Motorists told to watch out for sinkholes

Published 23/08/2014 | 13:09

A sinkhole that appeared in Channel Road, Rush, Co Dublin
sink hole

A deep sinkhole that opened up on a road in Rush in Dublin has been made safe.

The deep cavity on Channel Road in the north county Dublin town was posted on Facebook to alert road users.

However, Fingal County Council was on the scene very quickly to do a temporary repair job and make it safe prior to more extensive work being carried out at the scene.

A spokeswoman for the council said it is "planning a full repair in the coming weeks".

PRIORITY

In relation to why a hole like this can suddenly appear, she said: "Sub-surface ground conditions on some roads in Rush are sandy which make them more susceptible to change.

"Repairs of this kind are always a priority where road safety is an issue."

It is the second time that such a hole has appeared on the same road in recent times.

The spokeswoman added: "A similar incident happened a number of weeks ago and this has also been made safe."

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused such holes to suddenly appear.

When they do occur councils carry out work to fill the area with stones and put a temporary surface in place.

However, more extensive work is required to fix these kinds of holes properly.

Sand can wash away more easily than gravel or rock.

The Geological Survey of Ireland has mapped more than 6,000 sinkholes.

However, there are thousands more that remain to be mapped, as it is a common geological phenomenon.

Extreme weather earlier in the year saw a spate of sinkholes reported to councils around the country.

In Tramore, Co Waterford, the Strand Road had to be closed in January when a part of the road collapsed into a hole several metres across. This happened after violent seas, which battered a hole in the sea wall and then sucked away the sand on which the road was built.

However, we have had nothing in this country to rival some of the catastrophic collapses that have occurred elsewhere around the world.

Florida is home to more of the fast-forming craters than any other state.

In March last year, a large sinkhole near Tampa made international headlines when it swallowed a man as he slept in his bed.

It was about 30 feet in width and 20 feet deep. However, under the edges, the hole had spread to more than 100 feet.

fdillon@herald.ie

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