When Austin Kibler was contracted to build new curbs along North Lime Street, he didn’t expect to find the remnants of an old bridge directly below his feet.
However, that’s exactly what happened in June when he cut into the ground in the 200 block of North Lime and saw he described as “a hole to nowhere.”
Kibler and his partner Terry Kline, both with Kline Concrete, initially noticed the cavity as Kibler was ripping out the existing curb. They immediately notified city officials.
The city asked the men to make the opening wider so someone could jump in and have a look, Kibler said.
From the surface, Kibler said he could shine a flashlight into the hole and see the bottom, so he didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to personally explore.
The cavity, which is as wide as the road and is 5 to 6 feet deep and 30 feet long, is under an old railroad bridge that was not fully filled in.
Kibler said it’s not every day that he finds something under a main road that nobody seemingly knew about.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced Monday it will close North Lime Street between East Walnut and East Chestnut streets next week to fill the cavity.
Work will be done during the day, but the block will be closed continuously from Tuesday through Oct. 21.
North Lime Street is a major northbound route for trucks and other traffic, so expect backlogs, according to an alert on Lancaster city’s website. Traffic will be detoured east on Chestnut to North Broad Street, north to East Walnut Street and west on Walnut back to North Lime Street.
The city and PennDOT said Tuesday they are researching city roads each is responsible for to make sure there aren’t any more open cavities.