American Society of Civil Engineers

Case Closed

by Paul G. Swanson, P.E., M.ASCE, (Principal, Facility Engrg. Assocs., P.C., Fairfax, VA) and Thomas W. Larson, P.E., M.ASCE, (Principal, Facility Engrg. Assocs., P.C., Fairfax, VA)

Civil Engineering—ASCE
, Vol. 70, No. 6, June 2000, pp. 42-45

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Document type: Feature Article
Abstract: In June 1993, a massive “sinkhole” developed in a surface parking lot of a hotel facility in Georgia. The hole was a result of the soil erosion associated with a failed, 4-meter diameter combined sewer tunnel. Two fatalities occurred with the collapse. The subsequent forensic study uncovered a series of contributing factors, including a disregard for site history during the planning stage of the development, misapplication of a “safety net,” and a misinterpretation of the signs of impending failure in both the preventative maintenance inspections conducted by the city and forensic studies conducted by consultants immediately prior to the collapse.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Failure investigations
Forensic engineering
Parking facilities
Soil erosion