Highways Agency confirms huge M2 hole at Lynsted between Faversham and Sittingbourne is Dene hole as investigations continue
A huge 15ft deep hole that has caused chaos after opening up on the M2 is actually a chalk well, highways bosses have confirmed today.
The Highways Agency revealed the chasm that swallowed up the road surface near Faversham is a Dene hole rather than what was widely believed to have been a sinkhole.
It is an underground structure comprising several small chalk caves usually entered by a vertical shaft.
The hole created a chasm in the motorway. Exclusive picture: Simon Burchett
The huge hole has been causing traffic gridlock since it was discovered on the central reservation near Lynsted, between J6 for Faversham and J5 for Sittingbourne, on Tuesday afternoon.
Two lanes are now open to traffic in both directions after a further lane was reopened this morning.
Investigations are continuing to find the exact cause of the hole opening up and to allow the repair to be completed.
There is no indication of how long this will take, but it is likely to stretch into next week.
Work is ongoing on the M2 to repair the hole. Picture: Simon Burchett
A Highways Agency spokesman said: "There have been restrictions on the key Kent route since Tuesday afternoon, when a Dene hole appeared in the central reservation.
"Geotechnical investigations are continuing to find the cause to allow the repair to be safely completed so that the remaining lanes can be reopened to traffic..." - Highways Agency
"The Highways Agency and its service providers have been working round the clock to assess the damage and implement a speedy repair.
"Traffic has been running past the scene on a reduced number of lanes, using the hard shoulder and lane one London-bound and on the hard shoulder coast-bound.
"Since 6am this morning lane one of the coast-bound carriageway has been open too, restoring two lanes in both directions.
"Geotechnical investigations are continuing to find the cause to allow the repair to be safely completed so that the remaining lanes can be reopened to traffic.
"There are no delays in the area currently, though drivers are advised to check conditions before setting out on a journey."
Workers filled the hole with 40 tonnes of pea shingle
Yesterday, transport minister Robert Goodwill visited the crater after being asked by the Prime Minister to see why it was taking so long to get the problem fixed.
Earlier, the cavity was filled with 40 tonnes of pea shingle to stabilise the hole as investigations continued.
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