Wenatchee, Washington. September 6th, 2011.

An 8-foot-wide sinkhole at one of the city’s busiest intersections has forced partial closure of a main thoroughfare and redirection of traffic.

At 1:30 p.m. today, the under-the-road hole at the corner of Miller Street and North Wenatchee Avenue, near the Igloo Tavern, was being investigated by city crews and traffic signals adjusted to help reroute traffic, said Steve King, city public works director for engineering.

Most traffic has been rerouted onto Mission Street, according to a city emergency traffic advisory. Efforts to estimate damage, excavate the sinkhole and temporarily repair the damage will likely continue into the evening.

Motorists first noticed a depression in the roadway this morning, said King. An initial investigation by city street crews found a “void,” said King, measuring up to 8-feet-wide under the asphalt. He said engineers believe an underground washout could have been caused by nearby irrigation pipe.

Other nearby pipes — sewer and irrigation — may also have been affected.

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