Patty Kim: Harrisburg pipes a ‘time bomb’

As she toured a sinkhole that spans half a city block, Harrisburg's new representative in the state Legislature said the city's pipes are a time bomb.

This is “a dire, emergency situation,” Representative Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) said while touring the sinkhole on 4th Street Friday afternoon. “Thank God nobody died.”

The sinkhole opened up near North 4th and Maclay streets around 7:30 a.m. Monday and caused the evacuation of over 20 families in the neighborhood. That night, an even bigger hole opened up on the same block. The second hole expanded on Thursday.

Crews now estimate it will take about 35 days for repairs to be completed. Kevin Hagerich with Harrisburg Public Works said they must dig up most of the street and replace the 90-year-old clay pipe that eroded and caused the sinkhole in the first place.

He said gas, sewer and water lines will be replaced on North 4th Street from McClay to Woodbine streets. The American Red Cross is working directly with any residents who need temporary housing.

During their tour, Kim and Senator Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin and York) petitioned the state to chip in money to help with the problem. They also called on Gov. Tom Corbett to obtain federal transportation funding and to use part of that money to help the city.

A Harrisburg Authority member has told abc27 News that he hopes to get a ground penetrating radar machine to help the city catch problems before they happen. He said the device would detect voids within the city's underground piping system.

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