Third Sinkhole Along I-81 in Rockbridge Co. in Less than Three Years

Rockbridge Co., VA - Construction crews worked through the night to repair part of I-81, where a sinkhole appeared Monday.

For a two mile stretch near Fairfield in Rockbridge County, the sinkhole shut down one lane of northbound traffic.

Sinkholes can be scary scenarios, consuming everything and anything in their paths. VDOT officials say we're lucky tonight that this one wasn't any larger just inches away from moving traffic.

15 feet wide and nearly 20 feet deep, this sink hole along the shoulder of I-81 appeared beneath a storm water drain. It destroyed much of the piping but spared the road.

Traffic was reduced to one lane on this busy stretch of highway. As Construction crews and VDOT officials determined the next step.

"We wanted to be cautious and move traffic away from that right lane. It's not into the right lane, but it's very close" said VDOT Construction Manager, George Bezold.

Bezold says the part closest to the road will be paved. The entire hole eventually filled in with rock and gravel.

"Paving crews are on site, excavation crews are on their way. We've already removed guard rail in preparation for that work" he said.

Sinkholes are not uncommon here. For more than two years now, crews have worked to widen this seven mile stretch of I-81. And in that time, three holes have appeared.

"It's just a natural phenomenon you know all across the area and in Rockbridge County" said Bezold.

VDOT officials aren't entirely sure what precipitated this sinkhole. One guess is heavy rain, something Rockbridge County saw over the weekend.

Officials are hoping the hole will be completely filled by Wednesday morning.