Enbridge makes emergency road repairs near WrenshallCommuters who drove along County Road 1 on the south edge of Wrenshall were in for a surprise last Thursday morning. Orange cones signaled the road was closed to through traffic near the Enbridge plant, and the official word from the Carlton County Sheriff’s Department was that it was due to “emergency repairs.”
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Commuters who drove along County Road 1 on the south edge of Wrenshall were in for a surprise last Thursday morning. Orange cones signaled the road was closed to through traffic near the Enbridge plant, and the official word from the Carlton County Sheriff’s Department was that it was due to “emergency repairs.”
And though that section of roadway remained closed until Saturday morning, the source of the repairs remained a bit of a mystery to most area motorists.
According to Mike Tardy, Carlton County transportation director, a sinkhole appeared on that segment of County Road 1 and was reported to the county on Wednesday afternoon. After responding to the scene and putting up the orange caution cones, county crews attempted to fill in the hole, but it eventually sank once again.
At that point, the county contacted Enbridge Energy, since one of the company’s pipelines runs some 10 feet under the roadway at that location. Enbridge Project Supervisor Ron Hautamaki later confirmed that particular stretch of pipeline has been in the ground since 2012. Tardy conjectured the sinkhole could have been due to some settlement in the soil since the time the road was rebuilt, or perhaps something wasn’t quite right with the roadbed after the pipeline was installed and subsequently rebuilt.
“Occasionally, something like that causes a void under the pavement and eventually the road buckles under,” explained Tardy.
Hautamaki reported the pipeline was not affected in any way by last week’s sinkhole and the company is positive there was no leak in the pipeline.
Enbridge crews on the scene packed the sinkhole with sand and tamped it down, then adding a layer of Styrofoam above the pipeline (to help prevent frost heaves) and adding more sand and then asphalt to the top.
At the conclusion of the road work, contractors were brought in to repave that section of the roadway to make it passable again to motorists beginning Saturday.
Pine Journal Editor Jana Peterson contributed to this story.