- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BOONVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A state contractor is preparing to fill in coal mine shafts that are collapsing beneath a southwestern Indiana city.

The problem caught Booneville officials’ attention when a void opened up, damaging a home and a railroad track crossing Indiana 62.

Many of the shafts are unmapped and left over from illegal mining operations, Mayor Pam Hendrickson told the Evansville Courier & Press (http://bit.ly/1ngmI4g ). Much of Boonville sits atop abandoned underground coal mines.

“We have it all over. It just creates a lot of problems for us,” she said.


The city isn’t alone in its troubles. Portions of coal-rich Illinois and Kentucky suffer the same issue, as mine supports fail and cause the ground to sink beneath existing structures.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said its Division of Reclamation will pay Jerry Aigner Construction more than $2.5 million for the work on Booneville’s southeast side.

The work is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

The stabilization work will involve pumping a grout mixture through about 210 holes into the voids to provide roof support and prevent further ground movement.

In 2011, the DNR found a void beneath an elementary school that was built on top of an abandoned mine, and pumped grout into place to firm up the ground.

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com