Sinkhole repair cost over $2 million for Grass Valley (VIDEO) |

Sinkhole repair cost over $2 million for Grass Valley (VIDEO)

Grass Valley City Manager Tim Kiser stands on the edge of the finished repairs of the Little Wolf Creek sinkhole Wednesday afternoon. The City hopes to acquire the property to use as trails and public access to Wolf Creek below.
Elias Funez/ |

Nearly a year has passed since a pinched culvert along Little Wolf Creek caused a 100-foot-deep sinkhole to open up on Freeman Lane in Grass Valley, and this month, construction crews are finalizing repair work.

According to Grass Valley City Manager Tim Kiser, the city has spent $2.2 million repairing the sinkhole so far, and that number is expected to rise.

“The majority of the work was done in the last couple of months,” Kiser said Tuesday at a Grass Valley City Council meeting. The city hasn’t yet tallied the cost of some of the more recent construction work, he said.

A portion of the fill dirt that was removed from the sinkhole property, was replaced in order to allow Tripps Auto Body to replace a portion of their lot that was lost when the sinkhole occurred in early January of 2017.

The finished sinkhole repairs still resemble, and will remain as an open pit with a graded access road that zig zags down to Wolf Creek.

According to Kiser, the city is currently in the negotiation process with Tripps Auto Body to acquire the remainder of the sinkhole property, which Tripps still owns.

“Maybe (we’ll) turn something negative as the sinkhole and this natural disaster, into something positive for the community and maybe turn the access road into a public trail in the future,” Kiser said.

The city hopes it will be reimbursed for some of the cost of repairing the sinkhole through a combination of Federal Highway Administration funds and insurance money, according to Kiser.

As for the cause of the pinched culvert, Kiser said he can only guess.

“That will be one of those unanswered questions — probably forever,” he said.

While restoring the sinkhole, neither construction workers nor city officials were able to identify a “smoking gun” that caused the incident, he said.

Construction crews this week worked on paving the parking lot at Tripps Auto Body.

If all goes according to plan, Kiser said, the repair project should be wrapped up by the end of this week.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email or call 530-477-4231.

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