The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Ida leaves giant sinkhole at golf course in Cromwell

- By Josh LaBella

CROMWELL — Residents of TPC River Highlands gathered on the golf course Thursday to gawk at a landslide caused by Wednesday night’s rainfall, which displaced trees, and left dozens of feet of track, as well as a gas pipeline, exposed.

A massive sinkhole opened up near the 13th hole at the golf course following storm Ida’s visit to town, officials said.

The Cromwell Fire Department published a photo of the scene on its IAFF Local 4662 Facebook page Thursday morning. In it, the Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. line bridges a gaping hole.

Parallel to that, a Buckeye natural gas pipeline is out in the open. Part of a golf cart path also tumbled down the hill as a result of the washout.

Neighbors said they had concerns about the spot after heavy rains in June washed away some of the rocks and gravel used to support the railroad, adding that one side of the tracks was left suspended. They said railroad crews were dispatched at the time to fill

the gaps.

In a statement, Buckeye Partners said it discovered that a portion of the company’s 12-inch diameter refined products pipeline in Cromwell was exposed as a result of heavy rain in the area at 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

“Buckeye crews immediatel­y responded, and, although the pipeline was already shut down, the affected segment was shut in and isolated,” it said. “While the company is continuing to assess the pipeline washout, Buckeye has confirmed that there has been no product released.”

Buckeye said it alerted the appropriat­e authoritie­s and is working closely with the local fire department. It said the company’s primary focus is minimizing the impact to the environmen­t, and ensuring the safety of nearby communitie­s.

Tom Cuiba, a spokespers­on for the Providence and Worcester Railroad, said the company selected a contractor to repair the track washout Thursday afternoon.

“A project kickoff meeting will be held tomorrow morning, with work expected to begin early next week,” Cuiba said. “The railroad is working on alternate routes to continue servicing customers in the meantime.”

David Corrado, general manager of TPC River Highlands, said the business is working with the railroad company to ensure the conditions are safe. “Certainly, the railroad is doing what they need to do,” he said, declining further comment.

The washout on the rail lines was not the only disruption caused by the heavy rainfall this week. In a tweet, the Connecticu­t Department of Transporta­tion said crews are working to address a sinkhole on the Route 9 Exit 19 off-ramp.

"We appreciate your patience as our crews continue to work nonstop to restore and reopen roadways, including the Exit 19 off ramp on Rt 9 in Cromwell," the state Department of Transporta­tion posted on its Twitter page.

Town Manager Anthony Salvatore said the town has little involvemen­t in the incidents other than dealing with resulting traffic.

“The town has no involvemen­t,” he said, adding Cromwell is not involved in remediatio­n of the washout next to the highlands. “Of course, it’s affecting the traffic for anyone exiting Exit 19 southbound from Route 9.” Cassandra Day contribute­d to this story.

 ?? Anthony Pioppi / Contribute­d photo ?? A view of the sinkhole at the 13th hole of the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, caused by the rain Thursday night.
Anthony Pioppi / Contribute­d photo A view of the sinkhole at the 13th hole of the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, caused by the rain Thursday night.

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