Pity the folks in Oregon these days. Not only have they had to deal with armed anti-government protesters invading their state, but now they've got to cope with a highway sinkhole that's almost the size of a basketball court.
The startling chasm, which started out less than a foot across in mid-December, suddenly turned into a monster 80 feet in diameter on Jan. 28, after an inch and a half of rain caused a culvert to fail and triggered a landslide nearby. The hole has closed down the stretch of U.S. 101 that runs through the unincorporated town of Harbor, just south of the city of Brookings, according to news reports.
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Officials reportedly have estimated that it will take at least a week to repair the hole, which started in the parking lot of the Fireside Diner, and then grew to devour a big hunk of the highway, according to the Curry Coastal Pilot newspaper. To further exacerbate the situation, a second, smaller sinkhole opened up in the middle of the road itself.
A spectacular drone video of the damage, shot by local resident Kyle Rice, already has attracted nearly 200,000 views on YouTube. The hole also has attracted coverage from BBC News and Russia's RT.com, where some readers used it as fodder for anti-American retorts and conspiracy theories. "Research shows US is one big sinkhole," one wrote, while another suggested that it may have been caused by "hundreds of underground tunnels throughout America."