Repairs to take 2-3 weeks to fix hole in highway near Kensington

Work has begun to fix a hole about six metres deep that closed a road near Kensington, P.E.I., over the weekend.

6 metre hole opened on Irishtown Road on Saturday

The hole on the Irishtown Road is about 6 metres deep, according to the Department of Transportation. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Work has begun to fix a hole about six metres deep that closed a road near Kensington, P.E.I., over the weekend.

The Department of Transportation said the hole developed Saturday afternoon on the Irishtown Road, provincial highway 101.

Stephen Yeo, chief engineer for the department, said it was a culvert failure that caused the hole in the road. At some point, he explained, water began going around the culvert instead of through it, eroding the fill above it and the pavement collapsed in.

He said it's not a common occurrence but it does happen. It's also not something that can be detected early.

"We do see it from time to time and it's certainly an issue we want to attend to right away," Yeo said.

The road will be closed for 2 to 3 weeks while work is done to repair the road, according to Stephen Yeo. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Provincial workers were on site Tuesday morning assessing what needed to be done and beginning work to repair the road. Crews will stabilize the site to prevent the hole from expanding before they begin repairs.

"There's 30 feet of fill required there. We'll put that in with good compaction and gravel and repave it as soon as the asphalt plants are open," he said. "That should take care of it."

Bigger pipe to be installed

Yeo said the repairs will also up the size of the pipe going under the road from 36 inches to five feet in diameter.

"With the bigger size diameter pipe now, water will flow a lot more freely through it," Yeo said. "So we don't anticipate this should ever happen again."

It will be two to three weeks before the road is opened again, depending on the weather, he said. In the meantime, people will have to detour around that portion of the road. The detour around the area adds about 20 minutes to the drive.

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With files from Tom Steepe