ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Engineers have drilled at the sites of sinkholes on Mary Patton Highway to determine what the cause is.

“One thing that we always stress is that we’re not going to allow any road, any bridge to be open if we feel it presents a danger to the motoring public,” said regional representative for TDOT, Mark Nagi.

Around two weeks ago, TDOT geotechnical engineers drilled in an area of the highway, between Big Springs Road and Jim Elliot Road, where multiple sinkholes have come up.

Sinkholes popping up on this area of the Mary Patton Highway. (Photo: WJHL).

Nagi said they have treated the holes before with flowable fill before. But now, the cavity has reopened.

“[The geotechnical engineers] took samples from the area,” said Nagi. “They’re currently coming up with a game plan on what the next steps are going to be.”

Nagi added that these sinkholes are occurring in an area that was a cut slope when the highway was constructed. He said the construction could have opened up a karst area that’s now starting to show signs of sinkholes that weren’t visible before.

He said sinkholes are common in this area.

“This is one of the areas in the state certainly that we see more of these caves, sinkholes underneath the roadways than perhaps other parts of the state,” said Nagi.

TDOT geotechnical engineers are still studying the samples to determine what the best solution is to fits the sinkholes.