Rt. 29 Sinkhole Returns Again

Remember the sinkhole that opened up on 29 near Hollymead last year? Remember that it had opened up the year before that? Last time around they repaired it in something like three days, and I’d suggested a week might be better if they could fix it for good. NBC-29 reports that that the same sinkhole has opened again. One lane of southbound traffic is shut down.

18 Responses to “Rt. 29 Sinkhole Returns Again”


  • How common are sinkholes in our geology? The Valley is made of limestone (and some sandstone), so sure. Florida is made from a swamp, so sure. Here?

  • Any geologists in the house?

  • Wasn’t the reason it failed the first time due to a faulty drainage pipe? Surely that’s not the reason now.

    Living up this way becomes a serious headache when traffic is snarled. Someone fix this correctly this time!

  • Do the folks who own Hollymead Town Centre (note the spelling which oozes upper-class crustiness) reimburse VDOT? Because it can’t be coincidence that these sinkholes appear near their development.

  • Charlottesville Tomorrow has a detailed interview with VDOT’s Darin Simpson which we posted last month. It details the causes of the two previous sinkholes as well as VDOT’s plans for a permanent fix. One of the things I learned was that the stormwater drainpipe under that sinkhole actually comes from the Seminole Commons shopping center near the CVS and not from Hollymead Town Center.
    Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville Tomorrow

  • Brian, why do you have to rain on my parade like that? I don’t remember that sinkhole being there when the Seminole Commons shopping center was there sans CVS/Hollymead. Why, oh WHY can’t I blame this on big development?

  • I hope it is irreparable.

  • Now I remember, “they” (VDOT or the developer?) tried to economize when they (the developer) paid to widen 29 there, by just building the drain pipe under the new part of the road instead of rehabbing the whole thing. This came up in cvillnews.com once before. Now VDOT is fixing it, says the article. I wonder who is paying.

    The article also mentions the old lanes of 29 (on the eastern side, southbound), probably built in the 1920’s; vs. the newer lanes, northbound, built maybe in the 1960’s. You can tell the older lanes because they are hillier. All the way to D.C., it’s that way. Smoother ride home from the big city you see…

  • err, eastern=northbound=hillier,
    southbound=flatter

  • Charlottesville Tomorrow produced a video feature on this yesterday:

    http://cvilletomorrow.typepad.com/charlottesville_tomorrow_/2007/06/vdot_crews_repa.html

    We’ll follow up with Darin Simpson of VDOT later on this week to find out the result of the camera they sent through the pipe. As of yesterday, they did not have conclusive evidence to say exactly what section of pipe broke.

  • What I fail to understand is why couldn’t this have been fixed “RIGHT” the first time it happened?

    This came up in cvillnews.com once before. Now VDOT is fixing it, says the article. I wonder who is paying.

    Who else? The taxpayer. Didn’t you know? Here in Chalbemarle the developer gets a free ride.

  • Why didn’t the “blockquote” tags work in my last post? the middle paragraph should read as a quote from Colfer.

  • Maybe if we stuff Sharon Gregory’s wig in that hole it will keep it from opening up ever again!

  • I guess the developer’s proffer on widening 29 only included a pipe and not a pipe joint. Hey maybe I’ll try that in the bathroom here…

    Places29, any opinions on their work? Looks like to me 29 has so much room for improvement. Get the light rail in now! It would make a lot more sense there than up and down West Main Street (which you can WALK in ten minutes!). Look at what it’s costing to put Metro though Tysons Corner now, twenty years late.

    Twenty-five years ago a class project at UVa suggested turning the stores on 29 around to face backwards, on a pair of access roads. They were derided, but it matches the Vermont model of forcing strip stores to put the parking lot in the back. That’s ancient history now that we have developers shilling us on town centers and such (Albemarle Place). Let’s drive to the town center!

    The most recently built neighborhood that looks neighborhood-y to me are the not-high-rent apartment blocks behind the Fashion Square Mall. When I, um, drive by – though I have walked around there too, and taken the bus – it looks like a real neighborhood, with kids on the street, and retail to go terrorize, I mean patronize (the malls). That community happened by accident, of course, and I doubt anything designed for high income residential/retail mixed used will match it, at least not in the burbs.

  • colfer,
    Will you please explain more about the Vermont model? What does that look like?

  • I agree w/ Sylvia. I’ll be in Burlington next month, and I’d love to know what to look for. And where.

  • Still looking for my reference…

  • My memory did not fail me. These are the abstracts of the two-part article. I have copies of them, paper only. You could post an email address here if you want photocopies, or go to the library. It would be interesting to me to read these articles now, eighteen years later, and see how they hold up. Or to ask a professional or scholar who knows the subject. Most likely, you would have to scream in roar, or beg & cry, to get him or her to give you a usable opinion; that has been my experience. And it doesn’t really work. Better to find one who will talk willingly, however unlikely that good fortune. Thank goodness for the old New Yorker…

    I’m putting the second part of the article first, because I think that is the one about Vermont, strip development, putting parking lots in back, progressive rural zoning, etc. I believe its AOK to post the abstracts, that’s what they’re for. So…

    Abstracts

    Reflections: Encountering the Countryside – II, by Tony Hiss. New Yorker, August 28, 1989, pp. 37-63.

    REFLECTIONS about the countryside. Landscapes, in the view of some land-use experts interested in a regional approach to development, are now showing themselves to be a cake that you can eat and have, too. People can build on a landscape, that is, without eating away at it. There has been a despairing assumption that progress demands degraded surroundings. Tells of the importance of country surroundings on young children, college students, & hospital patients. “The New Exploration: A Philosophy of Regional Planning” is a recently rediscovered & much pored-over book by an American forester & planner named Benton MacKaye, which was first published 60 years ago. MacKaye believed in the “regional city”-a piece of land about 30 miles by 40 with an urban area, a rural area & a wilderness area big enough to function on a sound economic & environmental footing. Long discussion of the work & ideas of regionalist Prof. Robert D. Yaro, director of the Center for Rural Massachusetts at the Univ. of Mass.-Amherst. He thinks we are now maturing as a nation in our thinking about land-use issues. We are in the process of building local institutions that take over the job of looking after public value on a volunteer basis & we’re learning how to reinvest in areas so that they’ll be more valuable to the next generation. Tells about wilderness areas in N.Y.C., upgrading urban & rural areas in Massachusetts. A three-part illustration at the end of this piece shows a New England landscape developed conventionally & a regionalist solution for the same density.

    Keywords: Hospitals; Landscape; Stein, Clarence S.; New York City; Massachusetts; Regional Plan Association; Jamaica Bay; Olmsted, Frederick Law; U.S. Air Force; MacKaye, Benton; San Francisco, California; The Country; Lynch, Kevin; Toch, Susan; Yaro, Robert D. (Prof.); Froebel, Friedrich; Ulrich, Roger S. (Prof.); “Learning Through Landscapes Project”; Greenways; Walter, 55Eugene Victor; Palisades Conservation Plan; Greenbelt Alliance; Connecticut River Valley; Pioneer Valley;

    Reflections: Encountering the Countryside – I, by Tony Hiss. New Yorker, August 21, 1989, pp. 40-69.

    REFLECTIONS about the countryside. Writer tells about visiting the old Klein farm, in northeastern Queens. It’s the only working family farm in New York City. The farm is only a little bit of land that didn’t get swallowed up 40 years ago by N.Y. Life Insurance Co. when they built Fresh Meadows a 172-acre garden-apartment rental community. This region was rural Flushing at one time: gives its history. The profound importance of the rural and agricultural landscape has only recently received much attention. Some feel that it provides nourishment for the senses and for the psyche. Discusses the decline of rural Flushing starting in 1930 when Robt. Moses proposed a parkway program for the N.Y. metropolitan region. Speculators bought up farm properties near the land where the new highways would run. In recent times people have been working out details of the landscape or regional approach to metropolitan development. Land-use experts are convinced that three different forms of connectedness exist: kinship with all life; partnership with working landscapes & the sense of community usual in villages & urban neighborhoods & they can be brought back to even the most densely settled districts, old & new. Human beings need a countryside component in their everyday surroundings. Tells about recent efforts to slow down development and preserve open spaces. Describes work of the New England Governors Conference concerning those six states; tells what is going on in eastern Long Island, & some other areas.

    Keywords: England; France; Trees; Railroads; California; Farms; Landscape; New York Life Insurance Company; Moses, Robert; Queens; Pennsylvania; Vineyards; Rhode Island; Whyte, William H.; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; The Country; Dubos, Rene; Wickham, John; Flushing, N.Y.; Long Island, N.Y.; “Slow-Growth Movement”; Wacker, Ronnie; Appleton, Albert F.; Natural Landscapes; New England Governors Conference; Neidich-Ryder, Carole; Green Cure Trust; Klein Farm; Zweig, Michael; Grohs, Karl; Stilgoe, John; Blackstone River Valley; Keil, Henry; Fresh Meadows, Queens; Bendick, Robert; Working Landscapes; Jenny, Hans; Delavigne, Raymond; Lewis, Philip; Mudd, David; Gardner, Richard R.; Airgood, Ellen; Hempstead Plains; Tsongas, Paul E. (Sen.);

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