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Despite recent sinkholes on two Will County roads, officials say no long-term concern

A sinkhole that formed after heavy rains last week along Gougar Road in New Lenox should be repaired by the end of this week, Will County officials said, but they don’t think the issue is a long-term concern.

“Once we replace it with the pipe we’re putting in, it should not happen again,” said Jeff Ronaldson, director of transportation for Will County.

The county originally learned of the sinkhole Sept. 28 along Gougar Road, just south of Interstate 80.

Ronaldson said the sinkhole formed because of torrential rain the Friday before.

Since then, members of the county’s maintenance staff have posted detour routes in and around the area in question, directing motorists to use alternate roadways.

Crews were at the site of the sinkhole Saturday trying to repair Gougar Road.

Ronaldson did not describe the project as an emergency repair, even as the county works to obtain a six-inch diameter pipe, which he said is not something they were in possession of.

“We actually did have that culvert under contract for improvements two weeks ago to replace it,” he said.

Ronaldson said he is aware of another recent sinkhole on Tully Road, which is under Will County’s jurisdiction going toward Grundy County. He said there are no concerns for sinkholes in general in Will County long term.

“We inspect our culverts on a regular basis,” Ronaldson said.

Ronaldson said that while the Illinois Department of Transportation does not mandate the inspection of small bodies of water under 20 feet, the county does its part to perform culvert inspections at regular intervals.

The timeline for the Gougar Road sinkhole repair remains unclear.

Ronaldson said he could not give a specific project completion date because of the rain had the weekend of Oct. 5-6, but is hoping it’s the middle part of this week. He said knowing that the county’s maintenance staff was able to start working at the site of the Gougar Road sinkhole is a great sign.


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