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Sinkhole swallows huge chunk of street

<i>KSL</i><br/>A massive sinkhole in West Valley City
A massive sinkhole in West Valley City

By Lauren Steinbrecher

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    WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (KSL) — A West Valley City street is starting to look like normal again after a sinkhole took out a huge chunk of the road Sunday afternoon.

It was large enough that it could have caused a crash, and crews had to respond quickly to make sure no one got hurt.

From the signs and posts, it was clear Monday that some kind of construction was going on on 2700 West. Traffic lanes were pushed over to the middle and southbound lane as crews walked around the closed-off northbound lane.

They were knee-deep in a project that no one planned to work on.

“It took all of the soil underneath it, just made the road collapse,” explained Jason Helm, general manager for Granger-Hunter Improvement District.

He said someone called Sunday to report a sinkhole on 2700 West, just south of the frontage road, in West Valley City. It filled with water and grew to about 20-25 feet wide and 10-12 feet deep.

It would have been able to easily swallow a car, maybe even two.

Crews found the culprit was a broken 8-inch cast iron pipe, probably installed around the 1950s or ’60s.

“This one wasn’t just a crack or splice,” Helm said. “There was a section that had to be replaced on this.”

In addition to replacing a section of pipe, crews had to fill the gaping hole. It took several dump truck loads of rocks and dirt to get it done.

Helm hoped to have the hole filled and new asphalt poured before Tuesday morning.

Interestingly enough, Helm explained how crews were scheduled to replace this exact water line next year. Only, it failed before they could get to it.

He said there are about 100 miles of cast iron pipeline in the district, and they have programs to replace the old lines.

“I would say the majority of our leaks that we do have in infrastructure is because of cast iron pipe,” he said.

While Helm indicated that normally those leaks don’t lead to gigantic sinkholes that take out part of a road, it shows the importance of keeping up on aging and decaying water lines.

“We’re grateful that we were able to get to it in the amount of time that we were able to,” Helm expressed. “And that there weren’t any accidents or any problems associated with cars or individuals.”

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