Owners of a North Lawrence tavern are awaiting an engineering inspection to determine whether recent damage to the building is a spinoff from a huge hole that opened this June just north of the Kansas River bridge on North Second Street.
Rick Renfro, co-owner of Johnny's Tavern, 401 N. Second, said bar operators contacted the city after noticing 10 to 12 days ago that the south side of the building had settled, cracking stucco on the building's exterior and causing a delivery door to become stuck.
Gene Shaughnessy, Lawrence building inspector, said Saturday night that city officials had surveyed the damage but were unable to determine whether it was caused by the hole. The hole was created when a storm sewer pipe broke beneath the road, allowing rushing rainwater to erode a hole 40 feet long, 30 feet wide and 20 feet deep.
City crews have been unable to drain the hole, which has prompted a traffic detour in North Lawrence.
Renfro and Shaughnessy said it was possible that water problems unrelated to the hole are the culprit.
Renfro said bar operators had scheduled a private structural engineering inspection to find out why the building settled. He said he expected the inspection to be conducted "sometime next week."
The damage, Renfro said, came at a particularly bad time. He said business at the tavern had fallen off significantly because of traffic rerouting brought on by the hole. Only one southbound lane remains open at North Second and Locust streets, where Johnny's is located.
Renfro said owners hadn't determined a damage estimate.