Burgess Hill sinkhole update

A sink hole opened up in Mill Road, Burgess Hill
A sink hole opened up in Mill Road, Burgess Hill

A road was closed after a sinkhole appeared in Burgess Hill on Tuesday afternoon.

West Sussex Highways said the emergency road closure had been put in place while the hole, in Mill Road, was inspected.

Although there was little visible damage to the road surface, a traffic diversion was put in place while county council contractors worked out just how big the underlying void was.

A West Sussex County Council representative said they had closed the road around 4.30pm so that a ‘trial hole’ could be dug to see how deep the sinkhole went.

On Thursday, he said that once debris was cleared from the hole, a 2m deep space was left to be filled in and covered with tarmac.

Sinkholes form when a section of bedrock is weakened by water erosion - soluble earth like the chalky soil on the Downs is vulnerable to this.

If the bedrock is exposed, this usually just creates a shallow depression on the surface.

A sinkhole which forms out of sight, with an intact layer of topsoil to conceal the problem, is known as a ‘cover-collapse’ sinkhole, and can be far more dangerous.

The topsoil can collapse without warning, either under its own weight, or the weight of a person or vehicle passing over it.

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