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Road closed due to sink hole
A 3 feet wide, by 5 feet long sink hole was found on Jennings Road between Monte Vista and West Main Street. - photo by Photo Contributed

A sink hole has caused the temporary closing of Jennings Road between Monte Vista and West Main Street. 

The road was closed Dec. 17 after the hole was assessed to be a hazard. The sink hole is approximately 3 feet wide by 5 feet in length. There were no injuries or accidents associated with the sink hole.

Stanislaus County Public Works staff are working on the plan for the necessary repairs to reopen the road.  Due to the adverse weather conditions impacting repairs, the road is not anticipated to be re-opened until mid-January.

On Dec. 17, Stanislaus County Public Works was contacted by the City of Modesto wastewater personnel in regard to this issue. City of Modesto staff were notified of the sink hole by a local farmer.  Stanislaus County Public Works road operations staff went to perform a site review and it was decided to close Jennings Road immediately with detours on Monte Vista to West Main. 

According to the National Geological Survey, sinkholes are common where the rock below the land surface is limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds, or rocks that can naturally be dissolved by ground water circulating through them. As the rock dissolves, spaces and caverns develop underground. Sinkholes are dramatic because the land usually stays intact for a while until the underground spaces just get too big. If there is not enough support for the land above the spaces then a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur. These collapses can be small, or they can be huge and can occur where a house or road is on top.

On Jennings Road there is a naturally occurring slough that flows off the San Joaquin River and under the road at this section.  The shoulder of the road collapsed over the slough and part of the sink hole extends under the roadway.