Harrisburg crews survey new sinkhole

Same street, different sinkhole. One block away from last year's massive sinkhole on North Fourth Street, another sinkhole formed in Harrisburg that is causing concern for residents and officials.

Darryl Daniel hopped in his car, started the engine, and attempted to pull out when he began a wild ride.

“As I pulled out it dropped right there just instantly, it dropped,” he said. “The whole right side just dropped. I get out of my car. I get out and look and I'm in a sinkhole.”

Daniel's car was towed and taken for repairs. He said the sinkhole caused him to cancel a trip out-of-town this weekend.

“This is going to the shop because the whole front end is….what's his name is crushed under there,” he said.

A little after 8 a.m. Harrisburg's newest sinkhole was born. However, the issues underneath is anything but new. Harrisburg City Public Works Director Aaron Johnson and Chief Engineer Paul Francis came out to assess the damage done.

Because the city does not control the maintenance of major service water and sewer lines per the court-approved recovery plan, The Harrisburg Authority now controls the city systems. However, both THA and various city departments worked together Friday afternoon to tackle the latest crater.

THA's Executive Director Shannon Williams said a void underneath a part of the block seemed to connect to a previous sinkhole a few yards away. However, as of Friday evening crews were unaware where the leak stemmed from.

Warmer temperatures that melted snow and ice poured some runoff water into the hole for a few hours. Francis said that surely didn't help the situation.

Crews hauled in trucks that helped flush a silt-filled sewer line. Williams said clearing the pipe would make way for a clearer view.

“It's flushing out the sewer line so that we can bring in televising equipment to run a camera through to determine where and if there were any voids or breaks or cracks or collapses in the sewer line to make sure that's not the cause of the problem,” she said.

Because this sinkhole is a block away from last year's massive earth opening sinkhole, many residents feared the same would happen on their block. However, Williams felt the smaller sinkhole formed before a larger crisis.

“We don't anticipate something like that happening because we're going to take care of this void right now.”

Fourth Street was closed late Friday afternoon will remain closed until further notice. Williams said crews will work to fill the void before the street is reopened. She also noted that North Fourth Street has trolly lines that date back to the early 1900s which reveal the city's aging infrastructure.

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