A part of Route 66 in Commerce, Oklahoma, will remain closed indefinitely after a sinkhole appeared near the road.
The sinkhole was found Friday. about 35 feet from South Main Street near Commerce High School. Police monitored the hole and decided to close the road Wednesday.
According to a Facebook post Wednesday from the Commerce Police Department:
In our opinion the road is in active failure. We have made contact with the EPA and ODEQ to come and make their assessment to the safety of the road, and are waiting for their determination.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but the safety of our citizens always come first.
Commerce city administrator Tommy Long told the Joplin Globe the hole was about 15 feet in diameter. Long said cracks were seen in the pavement, and officials closed the road when the cracks widened.
A correspondent for the Tulsa World reported three long cracks on the road leading from the sinkhole were visible.
Ottawa County set up detours to redirect traffic.
Sinkholes pockmark those parts of northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas because of decades of lead and zinc mining.
A sinkhole opened beneath a century-old building in downtown Galena, Kansas, in 2006. The hole compromised the building’s structure, and it had to be razed.
The same year, federal officials found the nearby town of Picher, Oklahoma, was dangerously undermined. Residents began to move out after that, and a deadly tornado in 2008 hastened the exodus.
The road closure isn’t enough of a problem to keep travelers from visiting the town’s attractions, such as the Dairy King restaurant, Allen’s Fillin’ Station and Mickey Mantle’s boyhood home. All one has to do is backtrack on Commerce Boulevard and take U.S. 69 out of town; the highway is newer alignment of Route 66.
(Image of a “Road Closed” sign by huskyboy via Flickr)