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NC sinkhole is swallowing car wash

NC sinkhole is swallowing car wash

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Nearly two months after a sinkhole opened up in the parking lot at the Morganton, N.C. post office, repairs are set to begin.

Philip Bogenberger, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service, said work will start soon.

Officials with the city said Morganton bears no responsibility in the problem, adding that it is a “private drainage issue” and that an engineer out of Greensboro was handling the project for the post office.

The sinkhole is near post office entrance off N.C. 181, but N.C. Department of Transportation spokesperson David Uchiyama said it is outside the department’s right-of-way and on private property.

Aerial photos provided to The News Herald of Morganton by Cooke Photography and Aerial Video show the sinkhole has compromised a self-carwash next door to the post office. The photos show the sinkhole is about the width of two of the carwash bays and has collapsed the ground beneath and the wall between those two bays.

Tim Biddix owns the carwash and the property on which it sits and said the sinkhole is the result of an issue with the post office’s drainage system. The post office owns its property, as well, and the sinkhole is underneath both lots.

Biddix said the situation likely will result in a teardown of his building, followed by a decision either to rebuild or sell the lot.

“We checked into trying to our building stabilized before it got to where it is now,” Biddix said. “Everybody we checked with said we’d just be wasting our money until the post office got theirs fixed. ... We were told they were supposed to start it two weeks ago. We had talked with their engineering firm and they were supposed to contact me and start two weeks ago.

In addition to the two destroyed bays, Biddix said the equipment room next to them likely will be gone the next time the area receives a good rain.

Justin Epley is a staff writer for The News Herald. He can be reached at jepley@morganton.com.

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