Oxford sinkhole could threaten main road in heavy rain

The sinkhole in Oxford, N.S., could grow wider because of heavy rains predicted for Tuesday into Wednesday. Officials expect increased erosion instability as a result of the weather.

Newly developed cracks in a parking lot near Upper Main Street are 22 metres from the road

A file photo of the sinkhole in Oxford, N.S., taken Aug. 30, 2018. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Heavy rains forecast for Tuesday into Wednesday have officials in a Nova Scotia town concerned a nearly 40-metre-wide sinkhole could grow and creep toward the main road.

"We do expect an increased rate of erosion and instability as a result of the rainfall and will be monitoring the situation accordingly," the Town of Oxford said Monday in a news release.

The sinkhole started as a small indentation near the town's Lions Club, but it suddenly opened up Aug. 20 when the ground under it collapsed.

Residents should consider using alternate routes to get to the Trans-Canada Highway because of the "lack of subsurface information around the sinkhole and surround the properties," the town said in a news release. (Submitted by the Town of Oxford)

Officials said there are concerns about newly developed cracks in the parking lot by the club. The cracks are 22 metres from the shoulder of Upper Main Street — the main road into town from the Trans-Canada Highway. The sinkhole is 44 metres from the road.

If conditions worsen, the release suggested residents consider using alternate routes to access the highway.

"It is unknown what level of risk this poses to the community, road and local businesses."

As of Monday, the sinkhole measured 32.6 metres by 38.7 metres, but its margins were still eroding.

The town is asking people to keep away from the sinkhole site. Security fencing and surveillance cameras have been set up around the area.

The town said anyone caught trespassing could be prosecuted under the Protection of Property Act.