Driver, public works employee speak out after sinkhole swallows car on road in Athens

ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY, Ga — Olympic Drive between Athena and Hancock Industrial Boulevard in Athens, Georgia remains closed after a large sinkhole opened up in the roadway overnight and swallowed a car.

On Wednesday morning, Athens-Clarke County police reported a driver called after he hit a sinkhole on Olympic Drive.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

The driver spoke to Channel 2′s Candace McCowan on WSB Tonight at 11 p.m. and said he was on his way to lunch when his car crash into the hole. He was able to get out of the car, but he could not get the car out.

The hole in the road continued to grow and hours later the car fell into the hole in the roadway.

Athens-Clarke County police said there was major damage to Olympic Drive between Hancock Industrial Boulevard and Athena Drive. Charlie Bolton Road also sustained damage.

Wayne Mead with Athens Clarke County Public Works said they had lots of heavy rain which caused the culvert to fail.

“Last night we had a lot of heavy rain. It came down in a very short period of time and that gush of rain caused that culvert here in front of us to fail,” said Mead.

Mead said the sinkhole will likely get bigger as time goes on.

“It’s still actively failing,” said Mead. “This will get bigger as the day and night goes on.”


Crews placed concrete jersey barriers along the roadway to stop other cars from driving into the hole. Part of a second roadway, Charlie Bolton Road between Lem Edwards and Athena Drive, was also washed away Wednesday.

It’s not clear when either roadway will be repaired and reopened.

“We are in emergency planning mode right we will have plans in place and contracts as soon as possible to get this repaired,” said Mead.

Photos showed the white sedan appearing to teeter between two remaining stretches of road before tipping into the sinkhole. Mead said the car won’t be removed until it is safe to do so.

“As far as the car it won’t be removed until its stabilized and safe to work.”

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Comments on this article