Photo Credit: National Corvette Museum
After a seven week process of preparing to fill the massive sinkhole under the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome, the ceremonial “first rock” was cast into the pit by the NCM’s Executive Director Wendell Strode. Inscribed on the rock was the words “Awesome God, Everyone Safe”, a testament to the fact that despite all the destruction caused by the sinkhole, there were no injuries to visitors or the employees who work there.
“The good Lord let it happen. It was roughly a quarter to six in the morning and we did not have anyone in the museum. No staff, no visitors, no guests. We’re so thankful for that,” said Wendell before tossing the first rock into the hole.
Preparing the sinkhole for filling has been a long and arduous task. Construction workers first needed to plug the openings to the caves on each side of the sinkhole. The contractors used a combination of steel sheet pilings and gunnite to create a barrier to the caves.
“Each side of the cave is approximately 30 feet long and about 20 feet high. It’s just not feasible to fill the entire cave with rock so the construction team had to get creative with plugging every crevice,” said Strode.
Workers are using a conveyor belt to bring in loads of gravel which will begin to fill the hole. The construction team has lowered a remote-controlled Bobcat into the hole to level out the gravel and it’s expected the process of filling the sinkhole to take about two weeks.
One of the new features in the sinkhole is a 48-inch manhole which will allow access to one side of the cave once the sinkhole is filled.
“We have some ideas for an exhibit where you can see into the cave via a camera with lights, and guests would be able to maneuver the camera, so we needed access to the cave to allow us to service that equipment as needed,” said Katie Frassinelli, Marketing & Communications Manager.
The NCM says that they are soliciting bids from a number of exhibit companies to create a sinkhole/cave display which will be installed into the Skydome once construction is completed. Work on the NCM’s sinkhole is expected to be complete by July 2015 and the new exhibit will be planned to open officially as part of the Museum’s 21st Anniversary Celebration over Labor Day weekend.
Previous updates to the construction going on inside the NCM’s Skydome can be viewed here:
December 29, 2014
December 19, 2014
December 12, 2014
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[VIDEO] Sinkhole Repairs Progressing at the National Corvette Museum