Colorado Sinkhole Result Of 100-Year-Old Railroad Tunnel Collapse

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LEADVILLE, COLORADO. – A sinkhole forming on Colorado Highway 24 was thought isolated until it was discover a 100-year-old railroad tunnel under the road was in the process of collapsing and causing the holes.

“There are chunks falling off. You can hear them,” said Colorado Department of Transportation Engineer Martha Miller. “So that’s why we’ve closed the road, we don’t know how quickly it’s going to happen and how quickly it’s going to occur.”

One sinkhole formed on the highway completely shutting down Highway 24 over Tennessee Pass, which connects several towns.

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The tunnel, built in the 1890s was constructed to carry passenger via railcar from Canon City to Salida and Minturn.

Picture posted by CDOT showing the view looking into the sinkhole.

“The original one was built of wood and timber so it would have rotted away over the years,” said Colorado Railroad Museum spokeswoman Sharon McGee.

The tunnel crosses Highway 24 in three places. Colorado Sinkhole Result Of 100 Year Old Railroad Tunnel Collapse

Stacey Stegman , a CDOT spokeswoman, said the sinkhole measures 20 by 30 feet and is 45 feet deep .

“We need to know how much damage is under the road before we start repairing it,” Stegman said. “Until we get a handle on how far down it goes and the damage around it, we won’t know how long it will take to repair.”

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