I-8 Lanes Reopened After Sinkhole in College Area

The sinkhole formed on the shoulder off eastbound Interstate 8, near the College Avenue exit

All lanes of eastbound Interstate 8 were reopened Friday morning, hours after a sinkhole was discovered along the right shoulder near San Diego State University.

The sinkhole was estimated to be the size of two garages according to Caltrans officials who worked overnight to patch the hole and cover it with asphalt.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) were called just after 10 a.m. Thursday to the shoulder of eastbound I-8 between Waring Road and the College Avenue exit.

CHP officials shut down traffic in the three righthand lanes, just west of College Avenue, and issued a SigAlert for the area.

Initially, Caltrans said it would close the section of highway until Friday afternoon to repair the hole measuring 30 feet long, 20 feet wide and 20 feet deep. 

However, several trucks dumped slurry into the deep hole to patch it, so they were able to reopen the lanes earlier than expected. Slurry doesn't harden, though, so the fix is only temporary, according to a Caltrans engineer.

The agency sent a robot into the storm drain to assess the situation and found a leaky pipe.

Running underneath the hole is a 42-inch corrugated steel storm drain pipe, which collects and carries water from San Diego State University under I-8.

The engineer said the pipe is 58 years old, rusted and needs replacing. They believe water leaked through the pipe and caused the sinkhole.

According to the engineer, replacing the pipe would take a fairly extensive operation, so they are not sure when they will have time to close down the lanes and make the repair.

In the meantime, Caltrans crews are discussing a plan to temporarily route the storm water in case of rain before the pipe is fixed.

No injuries or accidents have been reported in connection with the sinkhole.

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