A water main break opened up a hole in the road early Monday morning at East 18th Avenue and South Grand Boulevard next to Manito Park.
Marlene Feist, a city spokesperson, said the hole was reported around 2 a.m. Monday. Feist said the break occurred with a 12-inch cast iron water main that dates back to 1964.
“A sinkhole is an actual geological formation,” she said. “This was a hole born out by the pressure of the water, but a sinkhole is an actual thing.”
Feist said the City of Spokane Water Department first worked to fix the pipe before filling the hole. As a result, a lane of South Grand Boulevard was closed as crews patched the hole into Monday afternoon, rerouting drivers down East 18th Avenue. Crews also closed the westbound lane of East 18th Avenue at South Latawah Street.
An estimated time of completion was unclear as of around 2:30 p.m. Monday.
The Spokane City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution Monday night that will allow the Water Department to forgo a public bidding process and contract a paving company for no higher than $100,000 to repair the roadway. That part of South Grand Boulevard carries approximately 17,000 cars per day, Feist said.
“It truly is an emergency for people commuting on the South Hill,” said Council President Breean Beggs, who noted he jogged past the damage Monday.
Monday’s break did interrupt water services for some area residents, including Roxane Butler. Butler said she discovered her water was out as early as 5:30 a.m., though services were restored by around 12:30 p.m.
“They’ve been out here all day since the really early morning hours,” she said, “so I think they’re doing the best that they can.”
Marge Hammond, meanwhile, said she was unaffected even though the hole emerged right outside of her home. She said she noticed water and debris around the block that washed up onto some neighboring yards.
“I got up this morning and all I heard was noise,” she said. “They’ve been very pleasant, the people working out here.”
A part of the sidewalk between the intersection and a Spokane Transit Authority bus stop was shifted up a few inches as a result of the break. Feist said city officials will work with the Spokane Transit Authority to get that sidewalk repaired.
Reporter Adam Shanks contributed to this report.
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