Photo: Cleveland Water
A water main break at an intersection in downtown Cleveland, Ohio quickly escalated to terrifying proportions. Once maintenance crews got the break under control, a gaping hole formed. The intersection sinkhole billowed steam into the sky and was large enough to swallow an entire car. While local authorities encouraged drivers to avoid the area, the intersection remained open with the chasm surrounded by cones and barriers.
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The Cleveland Police Department confirmed to WOIO that a water break main at the intersection of Ontario Street and St Clair Avenue began at 7:55 a.m. Sunday morning. The intersection is just outside of police headquarters. Residences and businesses in the surrounding area were left without water as crews worked to stop the flow. Cleveland Water has stated that the break was caused by a plug at the end of a 10-inch main pipe giving way. The agency mentioned that nearby utility work might have caused the plug to come loose.
Once the break was stopped and the water dissipated, the road surface was stained with soil, and there was now a massive hole in the pavement. In just a few hours, the amount of water going into the ground created a sinkhole in the middle of Cleveland. The police issued a no-parking order until further notice and announced that police officers would direct traffic at the intersection during Monday’s rush hour. Yes, the intersection is still open despite the huge hole.
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WOIO reported that there was only a single lane of traffic open in each direction. The sinkhole has been marked with a circle of barriers, and the streets are lined with cones to help drivers not fall into the hole. It is not clear when the road surface will be repaired, and the intersection will fully reopen to traffic.