National Corvette Museum

National Corvette Museum

A milestone was reached Tuesday morning at the site of the new Motorsports Park in Bowling Green.  Crews began laying pavement for the 3.1 mile road course across the highway from the Corvette Museum. 

“We’re using a 3D paving system, which is something relatively new to the paving world, there’s only a few contractors who use it,” said Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright.  “What they’re telling us, is that it will hold the surface to within an eighth of an inch – which is pretty amazing if you think about it.”

Wright says the quality of surface can make or break a track and first impressions are important.

“If the track is rough or bumpy, or whatever – that’s what it becomes known as. If you’ve got an extremely smooth surface, that’s again, just a huge added benefit to us.”

Wright says the paving process is expected to take about a month.  The track is set to open in August in conjunction with the Corvette Museum’s 20th anniversary celebration.

The forecast for rain this weekend has led to the cancelation of the Stucky Music Festival set for Saturday near the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.

Thirteen bands had been scheduled to play throughout the day Saturday. Organizers say tickets purchased online have already been refunded, while those who purchased them in person will need to return them for a refund.

The event will not be re-scheduled.

National Corvette Museum

The last Corvette remaining in the giant, 50-foot sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green has been removed. 

Crews pulled up the badly-crushed,  2001 Mallett Hammer Z-06 using a crane Wednesday afternoon.

"You would think there would be tears of happiness to pull the last one out, but it's not even recognizable, so I think that created a somber mood among everybody," said the museum's Communications Director Katie Frassinelli.  "You usually save the best for last, but in this case, it was definitely the worst."

The Mallett Hammer was one of two Corvettes that had not been seen since the February 12th sinkhole collapse. 

The car was donated to the museum last December by a Florida couple who modified it into a racing car.  The Mallett Hammer was supposed to be used at the new Motorsports Park.

All eight cars will be on display at the museum through early August. They will then be shipped to Michigan for restoration. 

It took nearly two months to unearth all eight vintage automobiles. 

Lisa Autry

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has signed a Construction Partnership Program agreement with the company repairing the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green to ensure and enhance safety during the complex repair process.

Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts said they were proud to work with Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction on the "unique challenges to the workers who are part of the rebuilding process."

WBKO reports the construction will require fall protection, trenching and excavation safety measures as well as proper procedures involving heavy equipment such as cranes all inside an existing structure. The worksite will involve as many as twenty people working in close proximity at one time. That led Scott, Murphy and Daniel to request the partnership with the Labor Cabinet.

Engineers, geologists and emergency officials are also involved in the project. Faculty and students with Western Kentucky University's Engineering department as well as the Geography and Geology department are assisting with the evaluation of the ground surrounding the worksite. Their goal is to make sure there are no further collapses and the renovation is on a solid and safe foundation.

National Corvette Museum

Two more sunken sports cars were pulled from the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green on Wednesday.  Officials at the museum estimated that it might take weeks to pull the next cars from the hole, but on Wednesday, crews were able to extract a white, 1992 model, the one-millionth Corvette to roll off the assembly line.  Later in the afternoon, they recovered the 1984 PPG Pace Car. 

Five of the eight cars that fell into the hole February 12th have now been recovered and will be on display at the museum through early August.

National Corvette Museum

The oldest Corvette that fell into the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green last month has been recovered.  The museum says a black, 1962 Corvette was pulled out by crane today. 

On Monday, two others – a 1993 model and one from 2009 were brought back to the surface.

Five more cars remain in the 50-foot sinkhole. The museum says the cars will be put on display at the museum before being shipped to Michigan for repair.

Lisa Autry

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green put on quite a show Monday.  Construction crews began the slow, methodical process of removing eight cars that fell into a 50-foot sinkhole last month in the Skydome exhibit area. 

Crews did a few test runs over the weekend, but the moment of truth came at 10:35a.m. when first out of the depths of the hole was a blue 2009 ZR-1.

As a crane safely lifted to the surface the 3,500-pound car known as the ‘Blue Devil,’ Museum Director Wendell Strode smiled and gave a thumbs up. 

“It was a wonderful feeling and something we have been building for ever since the first day when this all happened," commented Strode.  “The pride, you could just see it.  We’re happy for everyone who has had a hand in it to this point and certainly all the supporters worldwide.  It’s a great feeling and we’re thrilled to share it with so many others."

Strode was amazed at the car’s good condition.

“The pictures we had seen previously looked as though it had been delicately placed on top of the soil, but when it was coming out, it looked like it could be started right up and driven off," he added. "It’s a great tribute to the engineering and everything that goes into the Corvette.”

Besides some fiberglass damage, an oil leak, and some scrapes, the ‘Blue Devil’ defied the odds.  Cheers erupted when the car cranked up and drove a few feet.  Construction Manager Mike Murphy was shocked.

“I could not believe it fired up and they could drive it out the door.  After taking a 40-foot fall, that’s amazing," said Murphy.

The ‘Blue Devil’ was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and moved to the museum’s exhibit area where all eight cars as they are recovered, will be on display through August 3.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Engineers expect to start pulling out Corvettes from a Bowling Green sinkhole next week.

Eight vintage versions of the car fell into the sinkhole that opened up two weeks ago beneath the National Corvette Museum. The construction company Scott, Murphy, and Daniel says the removal of the first three cars could begin next Monday, with the hopes of having those vehicles out of the sinkhole by Wednesday.

The construction team has been told it can bring excavation equipment into the Skydome area of the museum where the sinkhole opened up.

Workers will be allowed to set up cranes that will suspend engineers and contractors into the hole so that they can better examine the condition of the sinkhole and create a recovery plan.

The company estimates the crane will be in place by Saturday.

National Corvette Museum

Construction crews at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green are making preparations to remove the eight cars that fell into a massive sinkhole less than a week ago. 

Measures are also being taken to satisfy curious guests.

Right after the sinkhole collapse, a temporary wall was placed between the Skydome and the rest of the museum.  Now, the wall is being moved closer inside the Skydome and a window is being put in so that visitors can get a better view of the sinkhole and the work being done around it.

"We've had quite a few visitors who have been coming specifically to catch a glimpse of the sinkhole, and for safety reasons, we can't allow them to go into the Skydome to see it for themselves," says Communications Director Katie Frassinelli.

A live webcam has also been placed above the sinkhole and can be accessed here.

Anecdotally, she’s seeing more visitors than normal for this time of year and more local gawkers are showing up at the museum.

National Corvette Museum

Construction remains on schedule at the new Motorsports Park adjacent to the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.  Mitch Wright, general manager of the Motorsports Park says any concerns related to the sinkhole that opened up inside the museum last week we’re actually addressed months ago.

“We did have some sinkholes on the property, which we have remediated. We had quite a bit of geotech work done prior to the construction starting,"  said Wright.  “We’re pretty confident we found what we needed to find and we’re going to have a fantastic facility for people to enjoy.”

He says crews are making progress with underground work right now, and pavement will be put down in the spring.  The Motorsports Park is scheduled for completion in August.

National Corvette Museum

Eight cars that fell into a sinkhole at Bowling Green’s National Corvette Museum last Wednesday will be getting a little tender loving care. 

The prized sports cars were damaged when a 40 foot wide by 25 foot deep sinkhole opened up beneath the Skydome portion of the museum. 

Long-time Warren County Representative and former House Speaker Jody Richards says the cars will be sent off for refurbishing.

“General Motors is going to transport those to Detroit and they’re going to restore all eight of the Corvettes," the Bowling Green Democrat said. "They are very special corvettes and they want to restore them and they will eventually be back on display in the National Corvette Museum”         

Richards isn’t sure if the repaired cars will be back in Bowling Green in time for the Corvette Museum's 20th anniversary in August.  That's also when a new motorsports park will open in Warren County.

National Corvette Museum

General Motors says it will oversee the restoration process for the eight sports cars that fell into a giant sinkhole Wednesday morning at the Corvette Museum.  Bowling Green Corvette plant manager Jeff LaMarche  says they won’t know the exact condition of the cars until they’re recovered.

“We know that these cars represent significant milestones – not just in our history in Chevrolet and General Motors but also in the automotive history. And nobody really has a better understanding of their significance and what it takes to properly restore these than the engineers and designers at Chevrolet where they were developed," said LaMarche.

The lead engineer for the reconstruction project says it will take 2-3 weeks to stabilize the ground around the sinkhole.  After that, he says it will take 4-6 days to remove the cars. Museum officials say repairs will start Friday and they hope to have everything complete by August when the museum celebrates its 20th anniversary.

  Updated at 9:07 a.m.

National Corvette Museum officials have called a press conference for Thursday at 3:00 pm.  Executive Director Wendell Strode is expected to discuss plans moving forward such as removal of the cars inside the sinkhole and repairs to the Skydome.  WKU Public Radio will have someone there and will bring you the latest during All Things Considered.

Original post:

Bowling Green contractor Scott, Murphy and Daniel has been retained as the construction engineer by the National Corvette Museum to help recover and rebuild following the damage caused by Wednesday morning's sinkhole. Eight classic Corvettes fell into the 25 foot deep by 40 foot wide hole.

Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode said that firm will help devise a plan to recover the cars and save any if possible. And while safety is the top priority, Strode said they want to save the cars "as fast as we can." Strode told the Bowling Green Daily News that he was told by someone at the scene that the cars in the sinkhole had an estimated total value of $1 million.

Strode said he was confident the contracting firm could complete its work by the end of August, in time for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Museum and the projected opening of the NCM Motorsports Park.

Security footage from inside the SkyDome at the time of the sinkhole collapse shows the floor sagging suddenly, with pieces of the floor collapsing and a couple of the cars disappearing below ground.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green will re-open to the public Thursday after a sinkhole collapse swallowed up eight of the iconic vehicles.

The collapse happened shortly after 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Bowling Green Fire Department responded to an alarm triggered by the sinkhole.

Security cameras at the museum captured the collapse, which took place in the Skydome portion of the facility where the museum shows off some of its most invaluable vehicles. Six of the Corvettes that fell into the sinkhole are owned by the museum, with the other two on loan from General Motors.

According to a news release by the museum, all cars on display in the Skydome not affected by the sinkhole have been safely removed from the area. That same release also said a structural engineering firm at the site has determined that the perimeter of the Skydome is stable.

Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode estimated the hole that opened up at the facility is 25 to 30 feet deep and 40 feet wide.

The sinkhole didn't come as a shock to WKU Geology Professor Jason Polk, who says recent rainfall may have played a role in Wednesday's collapse.

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