Car drives into sinkhole caused by Richmond Heights water main break

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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – A car drove into a sinkhole Tuesday night that was caused by massive early morning water main break on Highland Road in Richmond Heights.

Sgt. Rick Olexa says the driver wasn’t injured, but would be cited for driving around the road closed signs.

“It’s dangerous and that’s why the road is shut down and when people come through, this is the result,” said Olexa.

Car drives into Richmond Heights sinkhole

It was yet another mess along the street after an extremely difficult day that, according to Cleveland Water, started just after 4 a.m. when crews noticed a sudden and significant drop in water pressure impacting tens of thousands of residents across nine communities.

“This is a line that passes through the city that is carrying water out to the eastern suburbs,” said Chris Courtney, assistant city engineer. 

Many businesses and schools were forced to close and/or were placed under a boil advisory in Richmond Heights, South Euclid, Lyndhurst, Mayfield, Mayfield Heights, Highland Heights, Gates Mills, Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

“We need water to cook and get everything set up. It is kind of important,” said Brian Adkins, owner of La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant.

The 54-inch aging water line has been plagued with problems over the years and ruptured multiple times.

“I’d say seven times since I’ve been here,” said Marvin Burge, who’s lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. “I guess I’m doing OK, got some bottled water and in for the long haul.”

According to Cleveland Water, this particular line was installed in 1957 and “due to the history of breaks, a permanent repair solution has been in progress. The designs for a major capital improvement project to renew the main are near completion. The project will install a 3,887 foot-long steel liner inside the main. The cost of the project is estimated at $6.5 million. Public bids for the construction of the project are expected early in the first quarter of 2022.”

Repairs to fix the current situation along the collapsed pipe and street could take weeks.

Until then, the road will remain closed. 

Residents are just hoping that this time, the repairs last.

 “I’m hoping this won’t happen again not optimistic,” said Burge.

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