Sinkhole damage downtown may be worse than originally thought

Sinkhole damage downtown may be worse than originally thought

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(WJBK) -

Tuesday afternoon officials say the massive sinkhole damage downtown is worse than originally thought. MDOT officials, utility companies and the mayor's office all recognized the potential for more problems is also more serious than they thought.

"We've got electricity, water, gas - all of that in one area. And, if we are not careful, the potential could be pretty bad," says Diane Cross, a spokesperson for MDOT.

The massive, 14-foot sinkhole collapsed parts of Jefferson Avenue near Randolph as a result of a water main break over the weekend.

"The substructure underground has collapsed so much that there is not even enough support for us to put up the shoring of walls to do the work," Cross says.

City crews have removed debris and collected soil samples, which proved the area around the sinkhole is safe for now. Crews also poured sand into the hole Tuesday for added support. The utilities companies, including the water department and DTE, admitting trying to fix the problem could cause more.

"The current lines - the sewer lines, water line, electrical lines, gas main - all of that will have some support underneath it so it doesn't collapse and become a bigger problem," says Cross.

She continued, "It may seem like it's not moving fast enough, but we'd rather have people have to drive another block around, or have a lane or two taken out, because we have to keep this area safe."

Cross did not give an estimate for when the repairs will be completed, but in the meantime, heating tents will be set up on site for crews to use during the current frigid temperatures.

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