Sinkholes are common occurrences upon freeways and other structures and are caused by natural depressions in the earth’s surface. They are typically caused by the natural deterioration of the earth’s rock surface. A sinkhole can be as small as two or three feet or nearly one-half mile in diameter.
In the context of roadway sinkholes, it is common for rainwater and debris to leak into cracks in the pavement. This leads to erosion of the concrete and eventually the roadway collapses completely. This is the case with the latest sinkhole in Southern California, which was reported this morning.
California Highway Patrol has closed part of Highway 87 near West Virginia Street in San Jose today, including the Alma Avenue ramp. Crews have been called to the scene to attempt to fix the hole as quickly as possible, however Caltran stated to the media that “you don’t really fix a 30-foot sinkhole that quickly.”
The hole was reported to CHP by a motorist around 3:00am, Thursday morning. The hole measures 30′ by 30′ and it is not immediately clear when the lane will re-open. Caltran began repairs around 6:30am and plans to continue working throughout the day and into the night, if necessary.
There are no reported injuries as a result of the sinkhole. California Highway Patrol urges all motorists to exercise caution when traveling in that area. Many crew workers will be out and about working to fix the problem and it would be unnecessary to add injury to the problem. If possible, try to avoid Highway 87 and choose another route as traffic is bound to be severely congested.