WOODSTOCK — East Cherokee Drive in Woodstock was closed to traffic early Thursday morning when a water main broke beneath the road and left a gaping sinkhole.
The almost 25-by-20 foot hole opened after a water main broke at East Cherokee Drive’s intersection with South Holly Springs Road about 2 a.m., said Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office reported as of Thursday evening the road had been reopened.
Baker said shortly 2 a.m., a driver stopped at the intersection and noticed water coming up from cracks in the road.
Deputies arrived and found the road still intact, but suspected a water main had burst and called the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority, Baker said.
“From the time they contacted the water department to the time (they) arrived and cut the water off, that’s when all the damage occurred,” Baker said. “Asphalt began to sink, and it eventually opened up into a hole.”
Dwight Turner, spokesman for CCWSA, said the authority was lucky, and only five homes were without water until the pipe was repaired at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Workers later broke away even more of the asphalt to ensure that other piping hadn’t been compromised, Turner said.
Samantha Daugherty lives near the site of the water main break, and said there have been similar occurrences in the area but not at this spot on East Cherokee Drive.
“We’ve lived here six years, and it’s never happened (here),” she said. “We had a main break like fifty yards up this past winter.”
Turner said when the main broke around 2 a.m., the 20-foot line split from end to end, “all in a flash.”
There is no clear cause for the pipe to break, other than its age, he said.
Turner said the pipe under East Cherokee Drive was made of PVC, which is an outdated material as far as Cherokee County is concerned.
“Those lines have been in the ground over 30 years,” he said. “We haven’t put any PVC in the ground since 1988.”
CCWSA now uses piping made from ductile iron, but many PVC pipes are still left, Turner said.
“We’re replacing them as (we) can,” Turner said. “Every year, we replace some, but you really can’t do it all at one time.”