Interstate 44 just west of Lewis Avenue remains closed late Wednesday as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation works feverishly to fill a sinkhole created by a construction miscalculation. Engineers on site say a crew was driving a pipe under the busy roadway when the road collapsed.
One supervisor said the crew was working at the proper depth according to specifications, but apparently those specifications did not account for the nature of the soil which is, at that location, primarily sand. He said the sand could extend beyond 100 feet down.
The sinkhole is several yards across and covers east and west traffic lanes as well as the shoulders. Crews are standing by in asphalt trucks to fill the hole, but as workers dig water fills each excavation. Early hopes to have the highway reopened by late Thursday afternoon are fading.
“This obviously affects the morning rush,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. George Brown told local media. “If you routinely travel these roadways, people need to expect delays.”
Eastbound traffic is being diverted as far back as the Peoria Avenue exit, and westbound traffic is being diverted at Lewis Avenue, at last report.
ODOT IS also shutting down the westbound I-44 exit from the Broken Arrow Expressway and the eastbound I-44 exit from U.S. 75.
Officials are urging drivers to avoid the area until further notice as repair may require several days.