Fort Smith officials report sinkhole in alley between 9th and 10th street

The Fort Smith Police Department is seen Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 near downtown. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)
The Fort Smith Police Department is seen Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 near downtown. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)

The Fort Smith Police Department issued a safety alert in relation to a sinkhole just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning. 

Matt Meeker, the director of the Fort Smith Streets and Traffic Control Department, said Wednesday that the sinkhole was actually in an alley between 9th and 10th streets and not where the police’s safety alert said. 

The safety alert from the police told people to avoid the area if possible. 

Aric Mitchell, a spokesman for the police department said that the sinkhole was “not as significant as it was called in to be.” 

“We got a call before the safety alert went out that it was like five feet big, but upon getting there it’s in an alleyway and only about a foot big,” Mitchell said Wednesday.

Meeker said the sinkhole is over a sewer line where there was a leak. 

He said the city would replace the sewer line and refill the sediment.

“Sinkholes happen when underground water causes soil or sediment migration and then a hole opens up,” Meeker said Wednesday. 

He said that while the safety alert is new, small sinkholes are common and an “everyday occurrence” around the city. 

“It is not uncommon in cities with old sewer systems,” Meeker said, “It’s really a minor issue.”

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