Engineers work to determine cause of Tanger Outlets sinkhole in Lancaster County

EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Construction crews and engineers were working to fix a massive sinkhole on Thursday at the Tanger Outlets in Lancaster County.

The sinkhole swallowed up six cars in the shopping mall parking lot nearly two weeks ago.

Monica Trego, general manager of Tanger Outlets in Lancaster County, says crews have started to dig up the parking lot in sections, layer by layer, to determine what exactly caused the hole to form.

"The goal is to see a quick repair but of course to take the time and follow the necessary process with the direction of the engineers," said Trego.

According to Talor Walsh, who is a professor of geology at Millersville University, there are two things engineers are likely looking for.

First, is the sinkhole the result of a man-made equipment failure?

"So, whether there is some sort of underground tank that failed or underground retention system that failed," Walsh said. "With all the rain, it's possible that underground retention basin failed and that's what caused it to collapse," he added.

Engineers could also be trying to figure out if it is a natural limestone sinkhole.

"There are sinkholes that happen all over Pennsylvania and in Lancaster County as a result of ground water slowly dissolving away at the limestone," said Walsh.

So, what happens next?

"You fill the hole and then you can pave over it, but that doesn't mean another sinkhole won't open in the future, but this one will be filled," added Walsh.

That has many wondering: Will the high traffic area be safe once it's fixed?

"We have been told by the engineers that have been accessing the property since the incident that it has been surveyed and is safe," Trego said. "I feel confident that we have a great team of expert engineers that will guide us and put a plan together."

Officials with Tanger Outlets in Lancaster County say that there is no definite timeline as to when everything will be fixed, however they are working to determine that.

Construction crews and engineers will continue to work 6 days a week, 12 hours a day until the problem is fixed.