A sinkhole that has forced the closure of a road in Chatham County for three weeks is growing, and state Department of Transportation officials said it could be another two-and-a-half months before the road is fixed.
According to DOT officials, old pipes underneath Lystra Road – which crosses Jordan Lake near Pittsboro – gave way on Jan. 18, at first creating a sinkhole that took up about half of one lane.
By Monday, the sinkhole had grown significantly, taking up much of the two-lane road.
Officials said the scope of the work is more complicated than DOT crews can handle, meaning a contractor will be hired to complete the road rebuild. The contractor will be forced to replace two old pipes under the road.
A contractor hasn’t been hired yet, and a DOT spokesman said it could be late April before the road is open.
“They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do. When it gets open, more power to us,” said driver Carl Brownell.
A detour is in place around the sinkhole, but it is creating major delays for area schools, Chatham County officials said.
The road closure has affected about 548 students at three different schools. The detour time is about 25 minutes, and it affects 13 bus routes, officials said.
Abdulelah Awad is an airport taxi driver. On Monday, with the meter running and a passenger in the back seat, the detour was forcing him to find another way to his destination. He said the detour was frustrating “especially if you don’t know the area and you’re new to it.”
Awas’s frustration was shared by driver R.J. Ellis, who said the detour has tacked on time to his daily commute.
“The commute time for me to and from [work] has virtually doubled,” said Ellis.