RT. 422 to open this week after sinkhole repair in Lebanon County

NORTH LONDONDERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Repairs on a massive sinkhole that closed a portion of Rt. 422 in Lebanon County back in the spring are almost complete.

The closure, near Palmyra, created long detours and caused hits to several surrounding businesses.

PennDOT said the road should re-open either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.

For the past six months, the owner of Palmyra Bowling and Sinkhole Saloon, Amy Eiserman, along Rt. 422 has called her parking lot "The War Zone."

"It just really took a hard toll on all of us here," Eiserman said.

Construction crews and equipment were in and out for months, while work was being done to repair the massive sinkhole. Meanwhile, business not as usual for this Eiserman, who saw a 25% decrease in volume because of the detours.

"Which is a significant impact when a lot of your employees are servers and depend upon tips as part of their wages," Eiserman said.

After multiple depressions were found, PennDOT had no choice but to close the road. It turns out there was a significant void underneath, anywhere between 17 feet to 180 feet down. The solution was a concrete slab; 38 feet wide, 300 feet long, and 2 feet deep. It's being supported by what's called 'micropiles,' 84 of them, which are made of steel and concrete.

"We don't want to call this a fix because as you know, this area is very prone to sinkholes and while we can do a repair, there's nothing we can do to permanently fix this situation," Fritzi Schreffler, a PennDOT spokesperson, said.

But PennDOT has installed portholes which will allow them to see if there are any changes to the ground using a camera.

"We'll be able to lift these up and look at various areas," Schreffler said. "Like I said, there are about 30 of these in this area, so we can monitor what's going on."

Crews still have to do some groove cutting, then sealing and line painting before they can give the green light.

"Is it a permanent fix? No." Schreffler said. "Again, you can't fix sinkholes. You just can't tell where they're going to be."

As for Eiserman, she's ready to get over this bump in the road.

"We can't be more fortunate to have this project done early and get the local community moving again," Eiserman said. "So we're more than thrilled to have this road open now."

Eiserman will be partially financially responsible, as well as some of the other businesses owners whose property was impacted by it. No word on how much. PennDOT said the total cost to repair it is unknown, but it will likely be about $3 million dollars.

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