City of Lawton gives timeline on sinkhole construction

Road closure sign on 14th and Lake
Road closure sign on 14th and Lake(KSWO)
Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 9:24 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The City of Lawton has temporarily filled in a sinkhole on 14th and Bell caused by an old sewer main breaking.

“The top of the pipe had gotten real thin and with the little bit of rain we’ve had in the last few days the water softened the soil above it,” said Rusty Whisenhunt, the director of public utilities. “The pipe cracked and the top fell in on the pipe. And as it fell in the flow of the water caused the dirt to pull in; which left a void underneath the concrete.”

When combined with the weight of a trash truck, the road caved in.

Officials said replacement parts have now been ordered.

Whisenhunt added this incident expedited the process as the sewer lines in the area were already going to be replaced with construction of a neighboring line currently taking place, just a block away.

Whisenhunt said the sewer main from 14th and Lake to 14th and Bell will be fully replaced, along with the road.

“After it’s all done they’ll be in much better shape right here than they were. It just wasn’t as we had timed it to happen and the way we wanted it,” Whisenhunt. “These were part of the rehab program council approved. The $80 million is to upgrade and repair these sewer mains like this one here.”

People who live in the area told 7News they were appreciative of how fast the hole was filled from when it occurred, and hope the rest of the process will be just as quick.

Whisenhunt said it will take about a week to replace the sewer main. Meanwhile, the street replacement will take another two or three weeks.

“We will have localized traffic here during the construction of the main. It’ll be backfilled with rock up-to-grade. Just during the time that they will be pouring the street replacement right in front of the houses will be the only time they won’t be able to access their driveway,” said Whisenhunt.