Downtown Juneau sinkhole causes suspension of some bus service

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Regular traffic can drive around, but Capital Transit bus service has been suspended along Franklin Street in downtown Juneau after a sinkhole developed at the intersection of Third and N. Franklin streets. (Matt Miller/KTOO)

A sinkhole has appeared in a downtown Juneau street, but city officials say it’s unlikely to develop into anything that would swallow vehicles or buildings.

“There is a hole in the pavement about the size of a small salad plate,” said Katie Koester, head of the city’s Engineering and Public Works Department. “But the sinkhole underneath is a little bit larger.”

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Close up of a sinkhole at Third and N. Franklin streets in downtown Juneau that has been temporarily patched until permanent repairs can be made. (Matt Miller/KTOO)

Koester said the sinkhole at the intersection of Third and North Franklin streets probably goes down about nine feet. It may have developed when an underground culvert corroded and collapsed, but she said they won’t know for sure until they dig up the area sometime next week.

“The reason is because we’re expecting a lot of rain over the next three days,” Koester said. “And we really want to wait for a sunny window before we disturb that storm drain system, since it handles all the drainage off of Mount Juneau and a significant amount of drainage off of Starr Hill.”

For now, the sinkhole is covered with temporary pavement patches and blocked off with cones and barriers.

Koester said there are no major restrictions to pedestrian or vehicle traffic in the area, but Capital Transit has suspended bus service from the downtown library and along North Franklin to Front and Fourth streets until the sinkhole is fixed. Downtown bus passengers should catch the bus at the Downtown Transit Center.

The headline for this story has been updated to include that the sinkhole is in Juneau.

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