Nearly two months after a sinkhole opened in the parking lot at the Morganton post office, repairs are set to begin.
Philip Bogenberger, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said work will start soon.
“Repairs are scheduled to begin this month and will take place after retail hours,” he said in a statement. “Delivery will continue as usual, and we do not expect any impact to our retail hours or operations.”
Officials with the city said Morganton bears no responsibility for the problem, adding that it is a “private drainage issue” and that a Greensboro engineer was handling the project for the post office.
The sinkhole is near the North Green Street/N.C. Highway 181 entrance to the post office, but N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman David Uchiyama said it is outside the department’s right-of-way and on private property.
Aerial photos provided to The News Herald by Cooke Photography and Aerial Video show the sinkhole has compromised the self-service/automatic carwash next door to the post office. The photos show the sinkhole is about the width of two of the carwash bays and has collapsed the ground beneath and the wall between those two bays nearest the post office.
Tim Biddix owns the carwash and the property on which it sits, and said the sinkhole is the result of an issue with the post office’s drainage system. The post office owns its property, as well, and the sinkhole lies on both lots.
Biddix said the situation likely will result in demolition of his building, followed by a decision either to rebuild or sell the lot.
“We checked into trying to our building stabilized before it got to where it is now,” he said. “Everybody we checked with said we’d just be wasting our money until the post office got theirs fixed. ... We were told they were supposed to start it two weeks ago. We had talked with their engineering firm, and they were supposed to contact me and start two weeks ago.
“Nobody has ever contacted me and, of course, they haven’t started. We’re not real sure. We’re just kind of on hold. ... There’s probably some miscommunication there or something. But we can’t do anything until they fix their problem, because they’re dumping water down on us.”
In addition to the two destroyed bays, Biddix said the equipment room next to them likely will be gone the next time the area receives a good rain.
The area around the carwash, North Green post office entrance and part of the parking lot remains barricaded off. Additionally, a smaller hole can be seen in the grass between Sanford Drive and the carwash.
Justin Epley is a staff writer for The News Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.