TxDOT crews work to repair multiple sinkholes after Hurricane Harvey

Wait... is that what they're even called?

FM 2571 at Copeland Hill Smithville (TxDOT)
FM 2571 at Copeland Hill Smithville (TxDOT)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc not just on our communities but also on many local roads and highways that felt its wrath.

In the the midst of rain and wind, Texas Department of Transportation crews scrambled to get several sinkholes repaired around town.

State Highway 21 just east of North Old Spanish Trail in Uhland saw one of the biggest issues with road erosion.

Crews work to fix sinkhole that opened on Hwy 21 Sunday afternoon. (KXAN Photo)
Crews work to fix sinkhole that opened on Hwy 21 Sunday afternoon in Hays County. (KXAN Photo)

The sinkholes are caused by an influx of water. The interesting thing: These aren’t actually sinkholes, but something very similar. A sinkhole is caused by a collapse of earth. When a roadway is eroded due to flood waters, the technical term is subsidence.

Spokesperson for TxDOT, Diann Hodges, says they use the term “sinkhole” as a more general, non-technical term for better communication of the issue.

Hodges says TxDOT crews monitor roads before major storm events and barricade spots they feel could be potential road issues. In order to stop a sinkhole situation from getting worse, Hodges says crews work 12 hour shifts during severe weather so they are able to modify and resolve issues as they’re reported.

“As soon as we are made aware of a situation they go out and assess it. If it’s something they can repair immediately they will do that,” Hodges explained. “We have staged barricades in those locations, so they’re very easily accessible.”

Another major sinkhole also caused lane closures in Smithville along Farm to Market 2571. If you come across a sinkhole on your commute, you should contact Austin 3-1-1 or TxDOT.

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