A massive sinkhole opened in the aftermath of Storm Ida, leaving the railroad tracks in the air near the 13th hole of the River Highlands TPC at Cromwell. (Photo by IAFF Local 4662)
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) assumed repair of the “slope break” caused by heavy rains from Tropical Storm Ida near the TPC River highlands at Cromwell, which left a refined product pipeline exposed and dozens of feet of train tracks without support.
The massive sinkhole opened near the 13th hole of the PGA Golf Course on September 2, where large amounts of dirt tumbled down a steep slope toward the Connecticut River. A rail line owned by the Providence and Worcester Railroad Co., and a jet fuel line operated by Buckeye Partners, a Texas-based petroleum distributor, were outstanding.
Cromwell Fire Chief Jason Balletto told Middletown Press the fuel line was not compromised by the washout, noting that his department responded after a member of the team saw an article about it on Facebook. He added that teams from Providence and Worcester Railroad would also be working to resolve the issue.
Additionally, the storm-generated landslide uprooted trees in the area, contributing to the sinkhole. Part of a golf cart path also rolled down the hill as a result.
Kevin Nursick, a spokesperson for CTDOT, said construction is now underway at the site and is expected to be completed soon.
“Work is currently underway to move the pipeline away from the break in slope,” he noted in a statement from the agency.
At the same time, Nursick said, crews have “started and are carrying out design activities” to address the break in the slope as well as some drainage improvements. Construction will progress in stages and will include the clearing of an access road.
Neighbors said they were concerned with the place after heavy rains in June washed away some of the rocks and gravel used to support the railroad, adding that one side of the tracks remained suspended. They told CT Insider that railroad crews were dispatched at the time to fill in the gaps.
Nursick said the state will work to stabilize the slope and prevent future washouts by creating drainage and other preventative measures.
It is also possible that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could reimburse part of the state costs.
âWe don’t have a cost estimate yet, but FEMA is involved and there might be some federal relief associated with that,â he said.
Damage at the exit of Route 9
Ida also damaged part of Exit Ramp 19 southbound on Connecticut Highway 9, where Nursick said a metal culvert that passed under the ramp and into the right-of-way on both sides of it had been washed away during heavy rains.
This damage is now repaired and the road is functioning normally.
But, Nursick told Middletown Media, his department had to go back and do additional work for other damage to the culvert entrance. He noted that the CTDOT must also assess the corrective actions to be taken to repair the stain and prevent a similar washout from occurring in the future.
Other road problems related to Ida
âWe had several issues across the state during the weather event,â Nursick told reporters, adding that they affected many highways and back roads in the state of Connecticut.
But he also explained that no serious damage to the state’s highways had been reported.
“The road network recovered quickly after the rains fell, with the floods dissipating once the rains ceased,” Nursick noted.
That’s the good news, press reported, but Nursick said Connecticut’s back roads, as well as many municipal roads, aren’t doing as well. A total of 27 secondary roads in the state were closed due to flooding, fallen trees or power lines, and flooding from Ida.
“We reacted quickly once conditions allowed,” he said. âThe majority of these closures were associated with water on the roadway.
“We’re happy it’s behind us,” Nursick told the Middletown newspaper.