FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) – It may not look like progress, but crews are already ahead of schedule repairing a large sinkhole and the work just started Tuesday.

“We put terms in the contract of 15 total calendar days for the contractor to complete this work. He thinks he can do it in half that time,” said City of Fairhope Public Works Director Richard Johnson.

Heavy rain last Thursday caused the pavement on Bancroft Street to open up. Now, the hole that’s some 13-14ft deep is taking up the southbound lane. Dated metal pipe that’s been in the ground for 40+ years was at the end of its lifespan and corroding, causing the failure.

“When it starts failing it starts pulling the soil material into it. We suspect that it had been doing that a while, but the rain event last Thursday finally pulled enough. Asphalt over the road could not support itself anymore,” he said.

For now, the stretch of road is closed while the repairs are made. Crews could start paving the entire street by next week if weather cooperates.

“We never get upset when projects get done before the deadline,” Johnson explained.

And, the sooner the road reopens the better traffic will flow in and out of downtown.