Sinkhole Shuts Down the King's Highway

North County drivers may be in for a headache getting home on Wednesday.

A sinkhole opened up in the morning on El Camino Real just north of Vista Way. Officials got a call about the problem at about 10:30 a.m., and a police officer was sent to check it out. Unfortunately, the caller reported the problem in the northbound lanes, and when the patrol car was heading south to investigate, the car went over the sinkhole and badly damaged the patrol car's wheels. The officer was not hurt in the incident.

By noon, the hole had opened up 3 feet of pavement on the roadway, but Kiel Coger from the Oceanside Department of Public Works said the situation was much more severe -- he said that he believed that beneath the street, an area about 10 feet in diameter was carved out by water. The void is now 15-feet deep, according to the Coger.

Both southbound lanes of El Camino Real have been shut down till work can be completed by crews, which arrived at about 1 p.m. While Coger said he hopes to have repairs completed by later in the day, he cautioned that it could take longer.

Officials believe a storm drain up the hill from the sinkhole either ruptured or opened up, and then the water from the drain washed away all the soil beneath the road.

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