KEARNEY — Since city staff were alerted via social media about a sinkhole off Mission Drive last week, Kearney leaders have been discussing ongoing issues with the holes.

“We’ve got holes all over town,” said Utilities Director Jay Bettis.

The main cause of the sinkholes, Bettis said, is aging infrastructure.

“Our corrugated pipe that was put in the 1970s and 1980s is failing,” he said. “You get a hole in a pipe like that, then during heavy water flows it acts like a siphon, sucking dirt into that hole and causes a sinkhole.”

In his report to aldermen for their July 1 board meeting, City Administrator Jim Eldridge said the sinkhole on Silhouette Avenue in the Shadowbrook subdivision is serious as it’s in a 54-inch corrugated metal pipe.

“This project has been budgeted,” Eldridge wrote. “There are other sinkhole repairs we need to address in Stonecrest and Regency Park. Less severe sinkholes are a problem in numerous other locations.”

On Tuesday, July 2, Bettis said there are four sinkholes in need of attention: one on North Country Avenue, the one on Silhouette Drive, one on Second Street and one a resident alerted staff to last week on Facebook on Mission Ridge.

“The one on Mission Ridge, we got a contract out for repairs on that one. We’re just waiting on parts for that. If they come in today, it’ll get fixed tomorrow,” Bettis said July 2 of the contract with repairman Chris Riley. As of July 2, there were white flags around the area where the hole was filled in.

As for the rest of the sinkholes, Bettis said bids are being sought.

“It’s going to be expensive. It’s all 54-inch pipes. It’s going to be hundreds of thousands of dollars if we line the whole thing. We don’t know what we’re going to do but have people looking at it.”

No injuries have been reported related to the holes.

“There hasn’t been any threat of injuries. We are keeping them filled up with millings. What happens is, though, every time it rains we have to go back out and fill them back up,” Bettis said.

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