The Corvette Museum near Bowling Green, Kentucky is the site of a sinkhole that swallowed eight rare sports cars on 12 February 2014. That pit in the facility will now be filled in by the company, and the vehicles will be put back on permanent display.
National Corvette Museum board of directors came to the decision after a careful review of possible actions. Price quotes were provided by the construction company selected for the repairs.
"We really wanted to preserve a portion of the hole so that guests for years to come could see a little bit of what it was like, but after receiving more detailed pricing, the cost outweighs the benefit... a cost of around $500,000 more to keep the hole, but after incorporating additional safety features and vapor barriers for humidity control, the price tag rose to $1 million more than the cost to put the Skydome back how it was," Wendell Strode, executive director of the museum, told the press.
Three Corvettes swallowed by the sinkhole will be restored by the museum and Chevrolet. These include a 1962 Corvette, as well as the one millionth Corvette produced - a 1992 convertible. The Blue Devil - a Corvette ZR1 prototype from 2009 - will round out the trio of automobiles to be refinished. The five remaining cars were damaged beyond repair, and will become part of a future display at the facility. All eight were removed from the sinkhole soon after the incident.
"The sinkhole was a result of a cave ceiling collapsing. There are several theories as to what caused this collapse, but it typically happens when over time, groundwater and stormwater wash away dirt and rock. They think ours could have happened when the clay soils above the cave roof became saturated from heavy rain, causing significant extra weight," the Corvette Museum wrote on a FAQ Web page about the geological feature.
The sinkhole formed at 5:39 a.m., when no one was in the building. The event triggered a burglar alarm which alerted a staff member who quickly arrived at the museum.
The Blue Devil was the least-damaged of the vehicles to fall into the sinkhole, and was the first to be recovered from the pit. The car started immediately after being removed from the hole.
A makeshift display off all eight vehicles in as-is condition led to a 70 percent increase in museum traffic in the first few months after the incident. Construction is expected to continue for six months, and visitors will be able to observe work taking place from behind a Plexiglas window.