Officials to study cause of cave-ins at Murfreesboro trailhead - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Officials to study cause of cave-ins at Murfreesboro trailhead


There could be a hidden danger lurking underneath a popular attraction in Murfreesboro that's leaving many people to wonder if they are standing on solid ground.

Rutherford County resident Harvey Barrett says he's seen his share of cave-ins at the Gateway Island Trailhead.

"Who knows when this is going to cave in where I'm standing," he said. "There was a pretty big one where they had to put sod back in here."

About a week or so later, it happened again, said Barrett, who comes to the recreational area to feed the ducks every day.

"I think it's a danger to the people out here walking," he said.

The latest drop-out, as city officials refers to it, happened a few days ago near the Gateway Island Bridge.

"You have to be careful. It's a beautiful place, but it's dangerous now," said Murfreesboro resident Israel Garcia.

A broken utility line caused a hole to open up in the lake last April, and days later another nearby cave-in gobbled up a light pole.

The most recent hole has prompted folks at the nonprofit organization Special Kids to change the course of its one-mile fun run this Saturday, even though city officials say the walking trail is safe.

"We just decided for the safety of our spectators and for our participants is to move everything over a little bit and change that course," said Ginger Spencer, director of marketing for Special Kids.

Despite the number of recent holes in the area, so far there have been no reported injuries.

"There is no telling where the next one will be," Barrett said.

Last April, the cost for repairs of all the holes topped a half-million dollars.

City engineers met with a geo-technical firm Thursday about doing a comprehensive sub-surface analysis of the area, hoping to get a more detailed picture of the situation.

City Manager Rob Lyons said seismic refraction of the area will help understand what material is underneath the surface and what will be the best solution to fix the problem.

The report is expected to be complete within 30 to 45 days.

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