Timeline unveiled to recover, restore damaged corvettes - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Timeline unveiled to recover, restore damaged corvettes in sinkhole

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Matt Dettman Matt Dettman

BOWLING GREEN, KY (WAVE) – Damage control continued after a sinkhole opened up inside the National Corvette Museum. Thursday, eight prized Corvettes were still at the bottom of the rubble.

The building foundation and structure is in good condition, according to Executive Director Wendell Strode.

"It will take two to three weeks to stabilize and secure the area, like the red spire and the walls of the sinkhole," Strode said.

The process to recover the Corvettes will take at least a week.

On Thursday, General Motors personnel announced the company will oversee restoration of the damaged cars. The process will be managed by General Motors Design in Warren, Mich.

"The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history," said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of General Motors Global Product Development. "There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the Museum reopens."

The magnitude of the incident inside the museum may have residents wondering whether a sinkhole could occur in their garage.

"It's just a very rare instance for it to happen underneath a house or building outside of Bowling Green or Warren County," Western Kentucky University Professor and Geological Engineer Matt Dettman said.

Dettman specializes in soil and foundational science.

Even in Warren County, there's not much homeowners can do to prevent a sinkhole.  Companies shell out tens of thousands of dollars before construction.  The process isn't necessarily feasible for everyday people.

"We do what's called a geotechnical investigation. We do a ground surface investigation and a subsurface investigation. We drill borings into the ground.  The cost of that would be too high for an average homeowner to want to do.  You could be looking at a range of $10,000 to $20,000 for one study," Dettman said.

Radon is not an indicator of an imminent sinkhole, according to Dettman.  "Really, the two are not related. It's going to be produced whether there's a sinkhole there or not. It's just the nature of the geology of the area," he said.

Homeowners can opt for sinkhole insurance – exactly what the National Corvette Museum invested in decades ago.  "That hole has been there for quite some time. There was a span of time when it was just air underneath that slab," Dettman said.

The National Corvette Museum is independently owned, and supported solely by charitable donations from enthusiasts. It is currently accepting donations on its website to assist in refurbishing the facility. Donations are tax-deductible.