Austin Peay Sinkhole Hampers Football Field Renovations in Tennessee

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 02:12 PM

By Angela Deines

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An Austin Peay sinkhole that opened up on the school's Tennessee campus last month is now complicating efforts to renovate the college’s football stadium.

"We actually put a line item in the budget for sinkhole remediation," Mike Jenkins, superintendent for Nashville-based Bell & Associates Construction, told The Leaf and Chronicle. "You never know to what extent you’re going to run into them, but we know that Montgomery County, and Austin Peay State University specifically, is famous for sinkholes."

The sinkhole appeared on the Clarksville, Tennessee, college campus in April and was only about 3 feet wide and no more than 5 feet deep when it was discovered on the northern end of the football field.

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But crews working on the stadium renovations recently had to expand the sinkhole to about 40 feet wide by 40 feet deep in order to look for stable bedrock and fill the gap with several layers of rock, separated by concrete, and topped off with 2 feet of subgrade asphalt beneath the track and turf.

Jenkins said the sinkhole repair won’t affect the budget for the stadium renovations that are taking place this summer. Several other smaller sinkholes in the stadium’s parking lot will also have to be repaired before Austin Peay State’s home opening game against Chattanooga on Sept. 13.

Sinkholes aren’t uncommon in the Clarksville area. Just before fall classes in August, a 5-foot sinkhole opened on a street near the university’s math building. Underground limestone caves in that part of Tennessee create what’s called a "karst" topography, and the digging for the installation of electrical wires or pipes can increase the water flow that erodes rock and leads to the occurrence of sinkholes.

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