A section of Highway 10 just east of Staples was closed Wednesday morning after a Minnesota Department of Transportation crews discovered a sinkhole under the eastbound driving lane.
The driving lane of eastbound Highway 10 will be closed until further notice as MnDOT crews assess the damage and wait for emergency funding to fix the problem, said Judy Jacobs, MnDOT District 3 communications specialist.
Jacobs said it appears a culvert under the highway failed, causing a sinkhole to form on the outside shoulder. When crews inspected, they found a 4-by-4-foot void under the right-hand lane of eastbound Highway 10.
“We felt it posed a safety concern for motorists, so at that point we decided to close down the driving lane,” Jacobs said. “We will keep it closed until all emergency repairs can be made. We might have to close all eastbound lanes if that becomes an issue.”
In that case, a problem would arise with detouring traffic. Jacobs said there aren’t good detour options close to the closed potion of the highway.
MnDOT District 3 has requested an emergency order from MnDOT’s state offices to authorize emergency repair work, Jacobs said. The cost of repair is estimated to be about $100,000, she said.
“We’re really pushing to get it done as soon as possible before it gets cold out and for the safety of the driving public,” Jacobs said.
MnDOT crews have been monitoring the culvert for a few weeks, Jacobs said, and making repairs in an attempt to maintain it. It still must be determined if MnDOT crews will be able to handle the repair or if an independent contractor will need to be hired.
The section of Highway 10 that is closed handles about 8,900 vehicles a day, she said. The area closed is well-signed, Jacobs said, and motorists are asked to slow down and use caution when driving through the area.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.