The new IHOP restaurant on frontage road enjoyed three days of operation as the business maintained a healthy crowd, but on day four, business was halted.
At 7:15 on Saturday night patrons were forced to exit the business located on frontage road when customers reportedly felt tremors throughout the building.
“We had just settled in when out of nowhere the power goes out. We didn’t really know what was going on. We just felt these tremors and low rumbling noises. Everyone loses it and we just leave in a somewhat orderly fashion. We get outside and we see a hole. And we think it’s a sinkhole, dang.”
Today the city of Meridian steered away from the sinkhole term and are now calling it a drainage structural collapse.
“The culvert that did collapse is 18 feet high and 27 feet wide and is one of the largest culverts in the state of Mississippi. The collapse is 30 feet deep, 50 feet wide and about 320 feet long. It stretches from Front street to the Sowashee creek drainage point. ”
McAallister says the city is currently assessing how to proceed.
“Right now we are working with the engineers on looking at this best way to move forward, not only to secure the site, but get these vehicles removed. Making sure the safety of the public was the first issue addressed. We has MDOT come out yesterday. They looked at drainage culvert headed south and found it to be structurally sound. So, Front street is remaining open. Right now we are still in the information gathering stage of this but we are moving forward.”
City officials were not the only people assessing the damaged culvert.
“We owned the property when the city came through and insisted on putting this pipe in the ground. I just wanted to see what it looked like happened. You can’t rush something like this. I see all the officials and they are all trying to assess what can be done. They are assuring me because I do own a portion of this property that they will keep us in the loop. And that’s all we can ask them to do.”
Abdul Lala who owns the IHOP property did not wish to speak on camera but expressed that he is pleased with how the city is responding to the incident and that he is glad that no one was hurt. Ben Lockridge, fox 30 news.