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The sinkhole that stopped Pittsburgh: Looking back three years later

By PATRICK DAMP

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    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — October 28, 2019, was a day in Pittsburgh that will not soon be forgotten by many.

As the city woke up and began starting the day, we were all alerted to a sentence we were certainly not expecting: ” A massive sinkhole opened up in downtown Pittsburgh during the Monday morning rush hour, swallowing the back half of a Port Authority bus and nearly a car with it.”

Talking about a hectic way to start the week.

Thankfully, there were no serious injuries when the sinkhole swallowed the bus.

Crews were able to remove the bus without incident but it was, at the time, described as a “Rubix Cube” because of the Duquesne Light utilities under the road.

“The problem that we’re having is that we have to lift that Port Authority bus straight up, because we have a Duquesne Light electrical vault involved, we have several gas lines involved and we don’t want to create any further problems than what we have now.”

As public works, Port Authority (now known as Pittsburgh Regional Transit), and Duquesne Light got to work making sure everything was working and the sinkhole was filled, Pittsburghers, as they so often do, showed their creativity.

However, like so many things in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic put a delay in getting the roads reopened. Not to mention, there was more work than expected.

Nearly one year after the sinkhole opened and swallowed the bus, the roads were reopened and the barricades were down.

Repairs to the road were extensive.

Duquesne Light, Peoples Gas, Comcast, Verizon, Port Authority, Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Thermal (PACT), and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority all assisted with the repairs.

Pittsburgh Public Safety first estimated fixing the was going to take about eight weeks, but, because of extensive infrastructure damage beneath the roadway, the timeline changed to months.

It wasn’t all fun and games in Pittsburgh as people joked and reminisced on the morning that would not soon be forgotten. The lone passenger on the bus filed suit against the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Michele Goodlow claimed they should have been aware of the dangerous conditions on the street from previous flooding and a damaged storm sewer line.

No matter, three years later, you ask a Pittsburgher where they were when a sinkhole swallowed a bus, chances are they can recall that day in detail.

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