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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Mystery sinkhole gobbles up part of Trolley Track Trail, Kansas City

The Watchdog | Mystery sinkhole gobbles up part of Trolley Track Trail

 The sinkhole measures about 4 feet in diameter and about 12 feet deep.
The sinkhole measures about 4 feet in diameter and about 12 feet deep.

The problem

Why, asks John Peterson, can't Kansas City keep its Trolley Track Trail open? For two months, he says, the prettiest section, between Troost and Woodland avenues, has been closed by a sinkhole.

"Whereas this sinkhole might be great for burying all The Dog's bones, it could easily be fixed with a culvert and a truckload of ballast," the Kansas City resident says. "But this hole is east of Troost, remember, so maybe we shouldn't expect any action."

The answer

This trail is maintained by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, which says the repair is not as simple as it might look.

"We think the 'sinkhole' may actually be the result of an abandoned mining operation from about 100 years ago, where the roof of the old mine has collapsed," said Cindy Baker, the ATA's marketing director. "This may explain why no material was found washing from the hole and why the cavern below the sinkhole is so large."

The ATA has hired an engineering consultant to evaluate the sinkhole and see if similar problems could crop up on that part of the trail. It will be a few weeks, at least, before the trail reopens.

"KCATA is committed to resolving the sinkhole problem and ensuring that there are no future such occurrences in this area," Baker said. "But the problem is more than simply backfilling a small hole and reopening the trail."

The Watchdog and his cousins are blamed for a lot of holes around here. But he pleads "not guilty" to this one.

Send e-mail to or write to The Watchdog, The Kansas City Star, Newsroom, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.

Posted on Fri, Nov. 05, 2010 11:13 PM

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