A 6-meter deep sinkhole suddenly opened up shallowing a Port Authority bus in Pittsburgh, USA.
The ground failure occurred at Penn Avenue and 10th Street, on Monday, October 28, 2019.
According to Port Authority of Allegheny County officials, the sinkhole opened beneath the vehicle which had stopped at a red light. The back of the bus fell into the hole while its front was raised several meters in the air. Experts stated that the back of the vehicle is significantly heavier than its front as it contains its engine and this is the reason why it sank.
Another car barely stopped before falling into the sinkhole and its driver safely exited the vehicle.
Fortunately, the bus accommodated only one passenger (and the driver) at the time of the accident. Both were able to get out of the vehicle without suffering severe injuries. The passenger was later hospitalized and was treated for minor neck injuries.
Emergency crews rushed at the scene to regulate the traffic and to remove the bus. A crane was utilized to lift the vehicle of the sinkhole. The operation that lasted for about 90 minutes, was challenging as authorities did not want to cause any further issues to local infrastructure. “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. Traffic is going to be a problem for the next eight to 10 hours,” officials stated.
Such sinkholes usually occur as the ground beneath the road is eroded (mostly due to rainfalls) until it gives way. Pittsburgh infrastructure deterioration, including road failures, is not a new issue. ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) has awarded the city’s infrastructure with a grade of C which further declines to a grade of D when it comes to water-related facilities.
Pittsburgh has received large amounts of precipitation during the past years a fact that has led to similar failures.
The cost of repairing such sinkholes is about $100,000.