A gargantuan sinkhole in Old St. Vital is in the process of getting fixed, the area’s councillor says, after months of complaints from local residents and no apparent action.
Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) told Global Winnipeg that the hole — near Imperial Avenue and Des Meurons Street — is expected to be repaired Wednesday.
The long wait, he said, is partially due to a lack of communication between City of Winnipeg departments, as well as waiting on clearances from Manitoba Hydro.
“Roads should be reopened, the staff tell me, by end of day today, so action is being taken — but it has been a while,” Mayes said.
Mayes said his office doesn’t get 311 calls, so despite his constituents calling the city for up to two months looking for a solution, he was first notified on Sept. 20 — at which point waiting for Hydro clearances and for inclement weather to clear up slowed things down even further.
“People think we get all of these calls, and sometimes, we’re in the dark,” he said.
“This has taken longer than it should’ve. The good news is, somebody’s here now, and hopefully by end of day, we’ll have this open.”
St. Vital residents frustrated by sinkhole, delayed repairs
Prior to Wednesday’s road work, area residents told Global News the size of the unsightly hole and the length of time it had taken the city to move forward on repairs was frustrating.
Lori Martens said she had called 311 countless times since the sinkhole first opened up, but other than roadblocks around it, she hadn’t seen any action, and was concerned for people in the neighbourhood.
“I’ve seen teenagers at night playing around there, and that’s a concern, too, because they might get hurt,” Martens told Global Winnipeg. “They were all laughing and jumping around near it.”
Anatomy of sinkholes, potholes, and how Winnipeg’s weather contributes
Resident John Telford said he and his wife each called the city repeatedly, without seeing results.
“It started small…. People were still driving over it, and then in a matter of a week or so, it started dropping, and this is what it’s turned into,” Telford said.
“I didn’t get any reaction, I couldn’t even get through, and then the city workers have been out here repairing other areas of the street, which in my opinion don’t really need to be repaired yet.
“I talked to them and they said this wasn’t even on their radar…. I hope they can get it fixed real quick.”
Ahmed Shalaby, civil engineering professor at the University of Manitoba, said these types of road hazards typically occur in roads with utilities like water mains and sewers beneath them, and are affected by age-related deterioration, as well Winnipeg’s freeze-thaw cycle, plus heavy traffic.
“One major problem with the way they occur is (that it’s) quite sudden, and that doesn’t give enough time for the city or the municipality to detect or repair the damage in time,” he said.
“Our weather is definitely a big factor, but also the age and condition of the infrastructure, so infrastructure deterioration is a problem in every city and every municipality.
“You can look at sinkholes and potholes as indicators of the evolution of that growing problem of infrastructure deterioration.”
Winnipeg begins first stages of repairs on massive sinkhole
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