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Large sinkhole opens on New Orleans lakefront levee

The hole is roughly five feet in diameter at the surface and ten feet deep.

NEW ORLEANS — A large sinkhole has opened on the levee that runs along the New Orleans lakefront. 

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which maintains the levee is now trying to come up with a plan to repair the hole. 

The sinkhole suddenly appeared on the levee behind picnic shelter one between Robert E Lee and Canal Boulevards on Lakeshore Drive Friday afternoon. 

“It’s something that we’re aware of and we’re watching and monitoring very closely,” SLFPA-E Director of Engineering Chris Humphreys said. “In fact, we have our police watching it as they pass, so we pretty much have eyes on it all the time.” 

The hole is roughly five feet in diameter at the surface and ten feet deep.

It appears the clay and soil that make up this earthen levee have eroded away near an underground pipe and valve. 

Humphreys says there’s an old utility crossing in that area, electrical, sewer and water. 

That may have allowed underground material to escape and wash away causing the sinkhole 

“We’re working on the fix, right now,” Humphreys said. “It’s still underway. We will backfill the hole and do enough work to verify that we’ve covered this particular issue.” 

Orleans Levee District police put up barricades around the hole. 

Monday, Lakefront Management Authority board member Bob Romero checked out the hole. 

The LMA manages and maintains the recreational areas along the Lakefront.

“When you see something like this, cave in like this, it does alarm you,” Romero said. 

Romero is asking people to stay away from the hole. 

“It looks dangerous just to be standing by it,” Romero said. “I don’t know how much of it was very solid under where we were standing and looking in.”

Craig Moore jogs past this section of levee just about every day. 

“It needs to be fixed,” Moore said. “Especially because this is hurricane season you know. 

According to the flood protection authority, an emergency contractor is on stand-by ready to go as soon as a repair plan is in place.  

The authority also has equipment staged for immediate response in the event of a storm entering the Gulf of Mexico. 

“We have 3,000-pound sandbags on a flatbed, ready to mobilize from here, it’s four miles to the site, so we could be there within an hour if we needed to,” Humphreys said. 

Once there’s a plan to fix the hole it would take a few days to complete the repair. 

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