Parents at Chatham Middle School will have to avoid Van Doren Avenue when school starts on Sept. 6.
The bridge over Days Creek off of Van Doren Avenue, which leads to the middle school and the Chatham Borough Department of Public Works (DPW), partially collapsed during Hurricane Irene.
The hole left a 14-inch reinforced water supply pipe for Chatham Borough exposed and threatened to cut off the borough's water. Borough Mayor Nelson Vaughan said the borough has engaged a contractor to fix the problem.
"It's a matter of public safety," Vaughan said.
The collapse left a large sinkhole which has more than doubled in size since early Sunday, by Vaughan's approximation, and is impassable to vehicles. There is pedestrian access around the sinkhole.
As of Tuesday, the contractor had installed supports for the pipe and started filling the sinkhole with dirt. Traffic blocks were set up around the hole to prevent both cars and pedestrians from getting too close and making the hole even larger.
Vaughan said he does not know how long the project will take, but the borough has taken responsibility for fixing it.
DPW employees are currently using the Main Street entrance and exit to the middle school to drive their vehicles, including trucks and other large DPW equipment. Students and parents should use caution when entering and exiting school grounds.