• LOCATION 71 | Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL

    Mine Subsidence

    Once again, we are above empty abandoned mining tunnels as the coal beneath the land where we are now, and actually, nearly all the coal that once existed below the surface within a couple miles of downtown Springfield, was removed during the early 1900s, as 53 coal mines operated in this area. Most of these empty tunnels are about 5 and a high feet high, and between 200 and 250 feet below the surface, and because there are so many empty tunnels around Springfield, mine subsidence here is a big concern.

    Mine subsidence occurs when the empty tunnels below us collapse When this happens, the surface of the land above it sinks as well. So, if you have a home above one of these collapsed tunnels, that could result in substantial structural damage to your home, and because of this, insurance companies are required by State Law to provide mine subsidence insurance to home owners near here.

    But homes are not the only thing that can suffer as a result of Mine Subsidence. In 2010, less than a couple miles to our right, along Interstate 72, a bridge over the Sangamon River, that carries more than 13,000 vehicles a day, sustained structural damage when the abandoned mine tunnel below it collapsed. Fortunately, the damage was minor, but it is not uncommon for roads to be closed for substantial periods of time as a result of mine subsidence. And now is a good time to point out that since we entered the Illinois prairie, we have spent about one third of our journey over empty mining tunnels. No sense in scaring anybody with this information earlier in the tour.

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Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL