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Big Woody's Not Ready for Football Sunday

Sullivan Trail sports bar remains closed nearly two weeks after huge sinkhole opened up behind establishment.

Are you ready for some football?

Justin Marcks is, but the general manager of said the Forks Township business, sunk by a shortly after Hurricane Irene, won't be ready to open Sunday.

"I'm really bummed," he said of the closure. "It's one of the worst disasters of my life." Marcks is the son of the restaurant chain's owner.

Big Woody's was among the five businesses in the plaza at 1855 Sullivan Trail near Ace Hardware by a massive sinkhole that developed when Hurricane Irene swept into the region two weeks ago.

Signage posted on the front of some of the businesses say the closures are due to “structural damage."

Marcks, who also serves as the general manager of the Big Woody's in Bethlehem, said it's unknown when the Forks Township operation will reopen, but it won't be in time for the kickoff of the National League Football season for most teams Sunday.

"We're really not sure," he said. "We really have received no word yet."

Workers have been repairing a water line that ruptured on , causing a sinkhole to open right behind Big Woody’s. The five affected businesses were shut down by the township and gas lines were cut off. It is not believed that Hurricane Irene was to blame for the water line rupture.

According to township zoning officer Tim Weis, work to stabilize the structures is continuing. The remaining businesses, and , could possibly reopen today, he added.

"Engineers must be certain that no further settling will occur before we allow people back into the building," said Weis. 

The section of the building that houses Big Woody's will take longer since it sustained more damage, he added.

Marcks would not go into specifics about how much revenue has been lost or how much damage has been done. He said engineers and insurance adjusters have been at the site.

"Everything has been displaced," he said. "All the food has been thrown out and all the workers let go."

He said the bar employed between 35 and 40 people.

"Our hope obviously is to bring them all back when we reopen," Marcks said.

The five-chain restaurant has three locations in Allentown and the Bethlehem site besides the Forks Township bar. Its website suggests patrons visit those sites and that if there are any questions or concerns to email at BigWoodys@yahoo.com.

As for the future, Marcks is playing a different game than football: the waiting game.

"Hopefully another week or two," he said. "They were optimistic. We hope that optimism rings true."

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