More than six months after a 45-foot sinkhole swallowed eight classic cars at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, the museum’s board of directors has decided the fate of the hole and the Corvettes that were rescued from its depths.
Earlier this summer, board members had strongly considered leaving part of the sinkhole intact and making it part of the museum experience. But the estimated costs associated climbed to over a million dollars.
On Saturday morning, as thousands of Corvette fans buzzed around the museum, the board decided the sinkhole would be completely filled in a project set to begin this November.
“We really wanted to preserve a portion of the hole so that guests for years to come could see a little bit of what it was like, but after receiving more detailed pricing, the cost outweighs the benefit,” the museum’s executive director, Wendell Strode said in a written statement.
Crews continue working to patch a large sinkhole at the Austin Peay University football field in Clarksville, Tennessee. University spokesman Bill Persinger says the hole is near the north end zone of the field.
“At first it was just a relatively small hole in the track," said Persinger. "As they progressed with their construction and began to dig to remediate the sinkhole, they ended up realizing it was much larger than anticipated."
The hole measures 40-feet wide and 40-feet deep. Persinger says sinkholes are common in that part of Tennessee because of the topography.
“In fact, some of the main features of our campus at the center points of campus are remediated sinkholes that are now student gathering areas we call ‘the bowls’,” said Persinger.
He says renovation work on Governors Stadium expected to be complete in time for Austin Peay’s football season opener.
Louisville resident Lynda Patterson was devastated when she saw pictures and video of the massive sinkhole that opened beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green on February 12.
Her eyes were fixated on the 40th Anniversary Corvette sticking tail up from the debris. As the owner of one herself, Patterson told WKU Public Radio that it was like looking at her own car.
“It’s a different mindset when you own Corvettes," she explained. "I don’t know what happens to you, but you kind of get screwy, and your heart sinks when you see one of these gorgeous automobiles in trouble.”
Seeing the crushed ruby red Corvette made Patterson want to give the museum her Ruby.
“Twenty years ago when my husband and I set up our trust, we had it in our trust that we would donate our Ruby to the museum, when the time came, when the last of us was gone," said Patterson. "When I saw it in the hole, and my husband had died about 18 months ago, I thought this is the time, she should go now.”
The Patterson’s bought the car 22 years ago after immediately falling in love with it in the showroom of a Chevrolet dealership. Fighting back tears, Patterson delivered her Ruby to the museum on Thursday.
“It was a bittersweet thing to give her up,” expressed Patterson.
Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli says the museum is looking forward to taking the car off of display.
“Lynda definitely wants us to drive it. She wants it used in parades, she wants it taken to schools,” said Frassinelli. “She really wants the car out and about.”
With the Patterson donation, the National Corvette Museum will eventually have two 40th Anniversary cars. The one pulled from the sinkhole is expected to be restored by General Motors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says southbound I-75 has been closed just across the Tennessee line because of a sinkhole that developed in northern Tennessee. The closure will force thousands of southbound travelers to take a 26 mile detour to get around the site. This is expected to affect many motorists....including thousands of college students heading south for spring break.