UPDATE, TUESDAY 8:30 A.M.: All lanes of Alcoa Highway are open to traffic as normal after crews repaired a hole that formed along the northbound side of the roadway.
One northbound lane was closed part of Sunday and all day Monday while crews worked on repairs.
A TDOT spokesperson told WBIR the hole was near an old abandoned waterline, and may have been related to a sinkhole that opened near the same spot last September.
Alcoa Highway Northbound is open as normal near the UT Medical Center exit in Knox County. One lane had been closed on Sunday/Monday.— Mark Nagi (@MarkNagiTDOT) June 6, 2017
UPDATE, MONDAY 2 P.M.: TDOT now says a hole on Alcoa Highway northbound near UT Medical Center may have been caused by an abandoned waterline, but it might also be related to a sinkhole that opened near the same spot last September.
"The old pipe is possibly connected to why the opening occurred in that location, but the geology of the area and the history of the site, including last year’s water main rupture, is a more complete explanation," TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi told 10News.
"The abandoned pipe wasn’t carrying water or leaking," Nagi said. "It is also quite possible that this is connected to the issue from September, but only wasn’t evident until yesterday."
Drivers in the area said the lane closure is frustrating.
"Traffic is awful," Christian Hickson, of Maryville, said. "It makes it hard to get to work."
Nagi said TDOT crews are monitoring the highway and will not open it until it's safe for drivers.
PREVIOUS STORY: One lane is closed on Alcoa Highway as TDOT crews repair a depression in the roadway.
The lane closure is in the northbound lane of Alcoa Highway near the University of Tennessee Medical Center. A TDOT spokesperson said there is a "roadway depression," and crews are assessing the situation.
While they initially thought it might be a sinkhole, spokesperson Mark Nagi said crews found no evidence of a sinkhole once they started digging.
"It appears to be an old abandoned waterline that had created the issue at approximately 8 feet below the surface of the roadway," Nagi said. "The soil at the abandoned waterline was wet, however no throat or cavity of a sinkhole could be found."
Be aware of lane closure on Alcoa Highway Northbound just past the UT Medical Center exit. Use caution in this area. pic.twitter.com/4NDSahasHX— Mark Nagi (@MarkNagiTDOT) June 5, 2017
Nagi said crews replaced "flowable fill material" in the hole Sunday night, which requires 24 hours of cure time before the lane can be reopened. Once the material sets, crews will square of the hole that formed and patch back asphalt around the hole.
The goal is to reopen the lane Tuesday morning, but Nagi said rainy weather may impact that schedule.