UPDATE: A section of Vineville Avenue closed due to a sinkhole reopened at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday.
Wednesday, crews compacted the hole and filled it with dirt to about 12 inches below road level.
After pouring concrete over the compacted dirt, crews let the concrete cure late Wednesday before finishing repairs.
Here is an earlier version of the story:
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Repairs on a sinkhole that swallowed Vineville Avenue’s traffic flow -- and much of the corridor’s Tuesday lunch crowd -- were expected to keep the street blocked through Wednesday afternoon.
The affected three-lane stretch of Vineville, a major artery into and out of downtown Macon with a reversible center lane, is already congested enough at times.
Detours have been in place since Monday afternoon when a terra-cotta pipe along a near-century-old brick storm drain gave way a dozen feet beneath the road.
Ground under the pavement eroded and sucked a crater in an inbound lane a block and a half west of the busy intersection at Pio Nono and Pierce avenues.
Cars headed into downtown that didn’t take alternate routes were being funneled to Pierce Avenue down Desoto Place, the first left past the Georgia Academy for the Blind.
Drivers going the other way, into midtown and on out to Forsyth Road, either avoided the area or turned onto Pierce or Pio Nono and then weaved their ways to their destinations.
Such circuitous efforts came with their share of wrong turns.
About noon Tuesday, a woman in downtown called in a takeout order to the China Inn restaurant. The eatery lies roughly a mile northeast of the sinkhole. When the woman went to pick up her teriyaki and General Tso’s chicken, she detoured south on Pio Nono and got lost. She was laughing when she called the restaurant, and proprietor Peter Wu guided her there.
Half an hour or so later, the establishment was all but empty. Wu blamed the sinkhole.
“Right now we’re just standing here waiting,” he said. “Hopefully they get done fixing it before dinner.”
Down the street toward the hole, a clerk at Jumbo’s Gas-N-Go, a Marathon station, didn’t know the road was blocked even though cars were scarce.
“I thought maybe didn’t nobody need gas today,” clerk Betty Jackson said.
C’reon Arnold, who works down the way at a Vineville auto parts store, said, “It’s been real dead over here today. ... Everybody that’s been coming in, it’s like they don’t know where they’re going.”
Matthew Yerby, a manager at Moe’s Southwest Grill near Hartley Avenue, said, “It has been dramatically slower today.”
In a neighboring shopping plaza at Chi-Ches-ter’s Antiques & Gifts, a manager said detours or not, business hadn’t slacked off.
“Our customers,” Linda O’Neal said, “are gonna find the way here.”
At Hoyt’s Market, a meat shop not far from the school for the blind, owner Steve Spradley glanced out the window and declared the traffic “kind of light for Vineville. Very light.”
“My wife called earlier and she had heard about it being blocked and she asked if it was affecting business,” Spradley said. “And I said, ‘Sure is.’”
About 1:30 p.m., an excavator and other heavy equipment sat idle at the sinkhole. There wasn’t much going on. The only Georgia Department of Transportation crewman around said workers were waiting for a drain pipe to arrive.
Just below street level, embedded in a layer of concrete, were rails and crossties, remnants of a trolley line from the early 1900s.
With the normally busy stretch of Vineville closed to cars, it was quiet. It wasn’t hard to imagine what the thoroughfare might have been like back when it was a dirt road.
The lone worker peered over the 12-foot-deep hole and into the distance toward Pio Nono and the barricade warding off traffic.
“You wouldn’t believe it,” he said. “We got it all blocked off and some cars still try to come up in here.”
To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.