Neighbors stranded after 10-feet deep sinkhole opens on private road

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AMELIA COUNTY, Va. -- The majority of a rural Amelia County community was left stranded after flood waters washed away a portion of the only access road in and out the neighborhood.

A 10-foot deep sinkhole was formed when heavy rains eroded a culvert pipe on Patten Lane around 4 p.m. Monday.

"The road is just completely washed away," Courtney Cifers said. "Six or seven houses are on the other side of this and people are just stuck and there’s no way to get through."

Throughout the day Tuesday, homeowners were forced to walk down a steep path created by the washout just to leave their neighborhood.

Courtney Cifers

The Pedro family carefully carried bags full of groceries from one side of the sinkhole to the other.

"We have to walk through the side just to get across because it’s probably a 10 foot drop," Xavier Pedro explained. "If it rains again the rest of that side over there will probably fall."

Unfortunately, because Patten Lane is considered a private road the half-dozen families will be forced to bear the costs of the repair project.

Amelia County Administrator Taylor Harvie said the locality doesn't set aside funds to fix private roads and VDOT only maintains the county's public roads.

One neighbor estimated the cost of replacing the culvert pipe and filling in hole with concrete and rock to be at least $10,000.

The neighborhood had set up a GoFundMe to help offset the costs of the repairs - which can be found here.

Cifers, who lives on Patten Lane but fortunately wasn't stranded, feared the worst for her neighbors if the sinkhole isn't repaired soon.

"What if somebody needs a rescue squad down here and they cant get to you?" she asked. "I just pray between now and whenever they get it fixed and nothing happens like that."

A spokesperson with the Amelia County Sheriff's Office told CBS 6 their officers were made aware of the situation Monday night.

She said in case of an emergency situation the Sheriff’s Office would do everything they can do to get to the other side of the sinkhole.

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