What Are Sinkholes & Why Do They Keep Appearing?

The news has been full of sinkholes appearing across the UK in the last couple of months, but it’s not just concrete repairs that have to be undertaken in order to solve the problem. It’s also important to look into what these are and why they keep popping up in roads and pavements in our towns and cities.

Essentially, a sinkhole is a surface depression that occurs above a hole in the ground that is formed as a result of the passage of water over rock over a period of time. In fact, the collapse of the ground above these holes is almost always because of the flow of water, which could be down to broken waste or water pipes or rainfall, for example.

Manchester was hit with a couple of these giant sinkholes on the Princess Parkway leading into the city at the end of last year, while earlier this month a residential street was affected in Newcastle in this way. And in Mississippi, a 600ft-long sinkhole opened up, swallowing at least 14 cars.

Civil engineers can do a lot to help repair these sinkholes. Smaller holes are typically filled in using concrete or some other kind of infill. These holes can be prevented from occurring in the first place by following good industry practices such as appropriate surface drainage.

Of course, it is vital that the cause of each individual sinkhole is investigated in order to properly deal with the situation and ensure that the problem doesn’t rear its head again.

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