Road closed by sinkhole finally reopens

August 26, 2008 10:43:10 AM PDT
A road next to a giant sinkhole that has been closed since May has now reopened in a small, rural community.The sinkhole in the small Southeast Texas town of Daisetta began as a 20-foot hole in the ground back in May, and just a day later had grown to 900 feet across at its widest point and 260 feet deep.

It swallowed up oil tanks and barrels, tires, telephone poles and several vehicles in Daisetta, a town of around 1,000 residents located about 60 miles northeast of Houston.

Daisetta's main street, FM 770, which passes by the hole, was closed to drivers all summer. But according to Liberty County officials, the one-mile stretch of road reopened over the weekend. School buses, big rigs and other heavy vehicles are cleared to drive that stretch, which opened just in time for the first day of school in Daisetta. TxDOT will continue to monitor the road condition and the sinkhole for any further subsidence.

Some geologists say the sinkhole might be related to saltwater waste that is being stored underground in the area. The saltwater is a byproduct of oil production and has to be stored underground so it won't contaminate water supplies and the environment.

Daisetta is an old oil field town and poised for potential sinkhole problems, geology experts have said. The town sits on a salt dome, a natural formation created below the ground over millions of years where oil brine and natural gas accumulate.

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