A temporary entrance to the Tanger Mall outlet center in Blowing Rock has allowed the shopping to re-open.
A sinkhole developed in the median of the entranceway on Monday, forcing the mall to close for the day.
The hole is fifteen feet wide by about 20 feet deep. Workers who were involved in another project on the property said they heard a loud crash and then saw the bushes disappear.
A fence was put around the site Tuesday morning for safety. Officials believe a drain line failed with the ensuing leak eating away at the soil underground until enough was washed away to cause the collapse.
Kevin Whittington, who directs the Department of Transportation Highway Maintenance efforts in Watauga County, said problems from the rain this year have been widespread. "We have already dealt with three major events," he said.
Flooding occurred in January, April and May, with bouts of heavy rain at other times as well.
"When we have the downpours, the velocity of rain puts a lot of pressure on the drainage systems." The D.O.T. has spent a lot of money this year, he says, fixing roadsides and other drainage issues.
Taxpayers will not foot the bill for repairs are the Tanger Mall sinkhole, however. The state is responsible only for drainage issues within the road's right of way.
The Tanger Mall sinkhole is not within that area. Designing and building drainage systems can be an expensive proposition says Whittington, but necessary to protect the road and the surrounding property.
Whittington expects to see more problems as long as the pattern of heavy downpours continues.