Four months after a large sinkhole opened up on Highway 505 near downtown Winlock, another sinkhole has appeared just 100 yards closer to town.
Around noon on Wednesday, reports of the small sinkhole were received by the city of Winlock. City workers responded to the sinkhole location in front of the IGA market on Highway 505 and marked the hazard with a series of cones. The sinkhole was only about 1 foot in diameter at the surface but appeared to open up considerably to the northwest underneath the road.
According to Mike Fisher, public works superintendent for Winlock, no official cause could be determined on Tuesday, but he noted that the sinkhole was near a creek and a storm drain.
On Wednesday, a representative for the city of Winlock said a crew from the Department of Transportation had assessed the scene and made minor repairs. The WSDOT is supposed to return for additional repairs and an investigation into the cause of the sinkhole, but no timetable was provided.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the area of the sinkhole was still blocked off by traffic cones.
The sinkhole in February at the intersection of Highway 505 and Nevil Road was blamed on a faulty culvert.
“We had a sinkhole that showed up due to a culvert that was not functioning correctly,” Winlock Mayor Lonnie Dowell said at the time. The mayor added that, “It’s basically a long-term Band-Aid until we can get money to replace the culvert.”
In March 2012, a much larger sinkhole appeared in the middle of downtown Winlock at the intersection of First Street and Highway 505. That 16-foot by 20-foot sinkhole was also caused by a faulty culvert that diverts Olequa Creek beneath the city. Initial repairs to that sinkhole were estimated to cost $250,000. No estimate of repair costs has been provided for the sinkhole that appeared on Tuesday.