Work is progressing better than expected on closing up a sinkhole that opened up Saturday under the eastbound lane of the 100 block of Cumberland Parkway in Upper Allen Township.

The township hopes to reopen the road by late Tuesday afternoon by directing motorists onto the center turn lane around the damaged portion of the road, according to a posting on Facebook. For now, traffic is being detoured onto Old Schoolhouse Lane.

Township police shut down Cumberland Parkway Saturday after they received a report of a sinkhole at 3:50 p.m. An officer on patrol noticed a dip in the road, which prompted an investigation that uncovered the sinkhole, Township Manager Lou Fazekas said Monday morning.

By that afternoon, Rogele Inc. of Harrisburg had exposed the throat of the sinkhole at 18 feet deep and lined it with geotextile material to stabilize the sides. A work crew had started to backfill the gap with stone. It was thought at first the throat was 30 feet deep, Fazekas said.

He said the repair is being complicated by the presence of a gas line and sewer line that hung suspended about 12 feet down. According to the Facebook update, once the hole is filled to just below where the utilities are located, the sewer pipe that was cut will be repaired along with the gas line that was also removed.

“We are currently by-pass pumping around the sinkhole from manhole to manhole,” the posting reads. “UGI is on site but will not able to make the repairs until tomorrow [Tuesday] morning. Once the hole is filled to street level it will have to sit a few days to allow for settlement before putting down blacktop.”

Earlier, UGI shut off the gas going through the line, Fazekas said. “No one was affected by it.” He said the township was doing everything it can to expedite the repair and reopen the line.

Heavy rain this summer saturated the ground causing gaps to form in the underlying rock, Fazekas said. He described the sinkhole as a fishbowl, narrow at the top and widening near the bottom.

The township has budgeted $50,000 toward emergency road repairs including sinkholes. During a phone interview Monday morning, Fazekas had no estimate on the cost of the Cumberland Parkway repair.

Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.

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News Reporter

History and education reporter for The Sentinel.

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