‘Crunch’ heard before sinkhole opened

Image copyright Lauren Bourke
Image caption The road sank slowly for approximately 45 minutes before the collapse, a see said

Ten homes have been evacuated after a large sinkhole opened up within a main road.

Witnesses described a police car ruling vehicles and blocking the A26, in Kent, just before part of the street collapsed into a void.

Motorists told the BBC they will heard a “crunching sound” prior to the 2m-wide sinkhole appeared on Mon evening.

Function to repair the void – which usually officials believe extends for up to 20m underground – is likely to take days.

‘Tarmac split’

Lauren Bourke is at a car with her fiance once the stretch of road between Maidstone and Tonbridge began to dip.

She said: “The bottom level of a bus hit the sinking tarmac and made a slight crunching sound which is when we knew the street definitely wasn’t safe.

“A police car overtook all of us and stopped in front of us.

“He got out plus blocked the road off.

“It was sinking for about forty five minutes and then all of a sudden the tarmac divided and it just went within a few minutes. Then the left hand side began sinking too but didn’t fall completely. ”

Picture copyright Natalie Alp
Image caption The road started to give way with “crunching” noises

Toby Howe, senior highways manager at Kent County Council, said the damage outdoors Taj Barming was “substantial”.

“Our preliminary investigations claim that this void extends either aspect of the road from kerb in order to kerb for a total distance associated with 20 metres, ” he stated.

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Together with Maidstone Borough Council, arrangements for those who had been forced to leave their homes are now being made.

Mr Howe said teams would attempt to create the cause of the collapse before trying to repair the damage.

This individual added: “In addition, there are application supplies of gas, electric plus water in the vicinity so we will require them to be involved too. ”

Image copyright Lauren Bourke
Image caption Police closed off the road prior to it fell through

The road is shut between Hermitage Lane and A queen Road, and a diversion is in location.

On repairs, Mister Howe said: “We really do not come with an estimate as yet but it will be more such as weeks than days. ”

A smaller sinkhole also became available in Tunbridge Wells on Mon. Bayham Road is closed among Frant Road and Forest Street.

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