Sinkhole causes road closure, inconvenience on South Sinclair Road

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Nicole Schroeder

For students who drive frequently on South Sinclair Road to get to school or to work, their daily commute has now become a little more inconvenient. Thanks to a sinkhole that opened up yesterday, a large portion of the road between Nifong Blvd. and Southampton Drive was shut down and is estimated to stay closed for the next seven to 10 days.
Caused by a failed stormwater culvert, the sinkhole is in danger of causing the entire road to collapse if not fixed quickly. This repair on Sinclair Road, however, is only one of many issues drivers on the road have noticed over the past few years. Senior Mickey Jamieson said he uses the road frequently when driving to work, and has certainly noticed problems with the road in the past.
“They were supposed to repave several years ago and they didn’t actually pave the road over, they just put down a gravel and tar mixture,” Jamieson said. “I’m sure it could happen again easily unless they fix it right this time and do it all the way. It’s probably going to happen again sometime in the future because the roads have been notorious for causing problems and then having them reappear several years later [after being fixed].”
Jamieson isn’t the only one who has noticed problems with the road’s general wear and it’s need for repairs. In fact, the collapsed culvert on Sinclair Road is a more serious example of the numerous road renovations the city of Columbia currently has slated to fix.
“The failure of the stormwater culvert highlights the infrastructure needs throughout Columbia,” Stephen Sapp, Director of Community Relations for the City of Columbia, said. “The Sinclair Road at Mill Creek stormwater culvert was identified as a priority project when voters were asked to approve Proposition 2 in April of 2015.”
With so many repairs needed on so many different structures around the city, the current repair on Sinclair Road will only be temporary, with a more permanent restoration to come later. This is in part to reduce the inconvenience to drivers, who not only use the road as a main thoroughfare in the city but also for student pickup and dropoff routines at Mill Creek Elementary School.
“When exiting our parking lot, cars can only take a left toward Nifong Blvd. Directly to the right of our exit is where the road is closed. This caused a bit more of a backup of cars than usual along Sinclair and Nifong, but not too bad,” second grade teacher Heather Lewis said. “Parent pick-up went pretty smoothly. Our principal, Mrs. Rawlings stood on Sinclair directing traffic and answering any questions [and] we moved our dismissal routine up by 10 minutes so the buses can pick up kids earlier.”
In spite of the inconvenience of the road’s closure creates for many parents and other drivers, however, Lewis said she hopes people remember to leave extra time for getting around the closure and said, “being patient with staff trying to move traffic safely and efficiently is appreciated.”
Similarly, Jamieson said he hopes people understand the dangers of the sinkhole and the importance of obeying the road’s closure, even if the repairs in the coming days do cause longer, more difficult trips in some instances.
“I know a lot of people don’t take stuff like that seriously, and I saw people moving the caution signs and trying to drive around it or through the hole itself,” Jamieson said. “It’s not like a pothole where you can just go over it with minor damage if you go slow. It’s actually that the road’s gone. So, don’t take those warnings lightly, don’t be stupid, follow what the road signs say and do not what’s in your best interest, but in the best interest of what they’re fixing right there.”
Does the road closure on Sinclair Road affect you in any way? How so? Leave a comment below.