EDMONTON — An Edmonton utility company says a sinkhole that’s about four times as deep as an adult giraffe is tall won't cause any structural risks to nearby homes and businesses, but it will cause traffic headaches.
"Out of an abundance of caution and public safety, we have closed the intersection as we continue to investigate to determine the affected area and scope of the repairs," Epcor said in a message to people in the Parkallen neighbourhood.
"As a result, there are significant traffic impacts in the area."
Epcor says the hole — 23 metres deep, three metres long and a metre wide — formed at the busy intersection on the city's south side last week. An earlier inspection of a sewer trunk line had found an underground void below the crossing.
It's not yet known what caused the void.
The sewer trunk line that runs along 61st Avenue at 109th Street carries both storm and sewage water.
Traffic detours won't be the only consequence of the sinkhole. Neighbourhood noses and ears will also know something is up.
"Residents may experience some increased sewer odours" as Epcor closes the intersection for several months for repairs, the utility said.
Epcor is installing a bypass that will drain sewage water and other liquids from the underground network so the company can determine how to fix the hole. The pumps and general construction of the bypass will generate continual, low-decibel noise, the company warned.
The bypass will be buried under the road to reduce traffic impacts and will be monitored 24-7.
EPCOR spokesperson Keltie Denton says it's not the first time a sinkhole has formed in the area.
In late 2018, a large sinkhole formed in the Allendale neighbourhood on the opposite side of the intersection and it took about eight months to repair, Denton said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press