In a town plagued by sinkholes, PennDOT says sinking road isn’t another one

PALMYRA, Pa. (WHTM) – A well-traveled road through Lebanon County is sinking once again.

It’s been fixed before, and now Route 422 needs to be fixed again. It’s an issue people in Palmyra are pretty familiar with.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Paul Bellaman said. “We have so much problems with sinkholes.”

When you’re as used to the ground giving way as residents here are, you find ways to cope.

“Us local people kind of laugh about it because we grew up with it,” Bellaman said.

“We didn’t know. We did not know,” James Howard said.

Howard moved here nine years ago. He spent some time at the Sinkhole Saloon and Grille Friday — with the blocked-off portion of the road visible out the window — because in Palmyra, what’s one more sinkhole in your life?

“But this is a good one,” Howard said, preparing to dive into a plate of wings with his 10-year-old son Logan.

“This is a bad neighborhood for sinkholes,” Bellaman, a Vietnam veteran, said. “This whole town is.”

But what’s happening on Route 422 just outside, PennDOT says, is not another one. A small piece, about 8 feet by 16 feet in the center lane and spreading into the westbound lane, is sinking.

“Again,” Bellaman said with a laugh.

It’s close to where a sinkhole formed a few years ago under the road.

“Kind of shut down business, the street, the whole town for a little bit,” PJ Dunigan, a Sinkhole employee, said.

“And they drove right through our neighborhood. It was great,” Howard said sarcastically of the detour it created.

But PennDOT said after taking a core sample this looks like the result of the ground settling, not a void under the road. That’s likely caused by water running underneath it or even by the sinkhole repairs a couple years ago.

It’s sunk two or three inches so far, and Monday crews will tear it up and repave. Drivers should expect delays. After that, PennDOT will monitor the area to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

For now, the saloon remains the only sinkhole on Route 422. The Palmyrans who patronize it hope it stays that way.

“Everyone needs it to get back and forth from Lebanon to Harrisburg,” Howard said. “So hopefully it’s not too bad.”

“We’ll find out,” Bellaman said with another laugh.

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