Deep Problem Grows in Richmond Roadway

Repairs could take more than a year

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, May 3, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 AM PDT
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Sinkhole Devours Richmond Road

NBC Bay Area

The hole opened up on Via Verde Road in Richmond on April 15.

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A "sizable chunk" of land gave way at a massive sinkhole in Richmond Sunday morning, closing vehicle traffic again for part of the weekend.

A sewer line broke and an already existing huge sinkhole on Via Verdi Drive got bigger. The ground first gave way April 15, creating a hole 40 feet wide, 120 feet long and 30 feet deep. On Sunday, the roadway opened up even more, exposing utility lines and forcing authorities to shut down the road to traffic again.

When the sinkhole opened up last month, it swallowed the only road in or out of a subdivision off of El Portal Drive that contains about 85 single-family homes and about 100 apartment units.

The Richmond City Council declared a local state of emergency last week due to the sinkhole. Interim City Engineer Edric Kwan said it could take nine to 14 months to completely repair the sunken roadway. The price of fixing the road cost the city up to $7.5 million.

A culvert that once directed San Pablo Creek under the road  collapsed when the sinkhole originally opened up, and crews installed a pump  to reroute the creek around the area.

Engineers are still investigating whether erosion from the creek could have caused the hole and whether the developer who installed the  culvert in the 1970s could be responsible for the collapse, Kwan said last week.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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