CANTON — Selectmen learned Tuesday night of a sinkhole atop a culvert on River Road and discussed marking it to warn drivers until it can be fixed.

It is 2.3 miles from Route 108 and is on the southbound lane. Water flowed swiftly along a drainage ditch on Wednesday afternoon before crossing through the culvert and dropping into the Androscoggin River.

The northern end of the road was closed years ago, but the southern end provides access to several houses. A sign at the beginning of the southern end tells drivers that the road is closed 2.7 miles in.

Selectman Brian Keene brought the issue to the board’s attention, saying the sinkhole is beyond the Wainright residence and the stretch of road where railroad tracks come close to it. There is only one house beyond the sinkhole.

He said the riverside end of the culvert is concrete.

“There’s a sinkhole starting in the middle of the road on the upper side,” Keene said. “There was one on the lower side that looks like it was from a couple years ago possibly, that was filled in with cold patch. That is still hard on that side.”

Keene said he told road foreman Paul McKenna about it and that McKenna said he would drive there and mark it off to alert drivers.

“Yesterday when I was there, there were two pieces of pavement down in there and when I took them out, I can’t see down into the culvert,” Keene said. “It looks like it kind of goes back and then down under the road, maybe. I also looked through the culvert and I don’t see any light coming down through the hole.”

Board of Selectmen Chairman Donny Hutchins surmised that the water undercut the culvert materials, causing the road section to collapse into the hole. Keene said McKenna will have to dig up the culvert to fix it.

Administrator Scotty Kilbreth said McKenna should also check other culverts under the road, because they are crushed.

Keene said McKenna wanted him to ask selectmen whether he should dig it up or fill it with cold patch and see what happens.

“He could take a couple of 50-pound bags of concrete, mix them up — make it fairly wet — and then dump it down in there,” Hutchins said. “When it drains down through there, it will harden, and then we’ll put cold patch in. That road isn’t used much. We probably use it more than anybody.”

Hutchins told Keene to tell McKenna about the concrete remedy. “If he’s got questions, tell him to let me know and I’ll go meet him.”

In other business, Keene told the board that McKenna has a big pile of metal bridge mesh at the Highway Department that two people are interested in purchasing.

Hutchins told Kilbreth to add the mesh to the list of equipment being placed out to bid and the two that are interested in getting some can put bids in, but Keene said selectmen originally agreed to sell it for salvage weight. Hutchins said it’s too expensive to move the material and asked that it be put out to bid.

“There’s plenty of it there,” Keene said, prompting Hutchins and Selectman Russell Adams to say they might even bid on some of the mesh sheets.

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