Chicago Sinkhole Swallows Tree, Cuts Off Water To Neighborhood

A Chicago sinkhole left a gash in a South Side neighborhood and cut out water to homes in a two block radius.

The sinkhole opened up at 124th Street and Wentworth on Saturday after a water main broke. The hole got progressively larger, the city’s Water Department said, until eventually they had to turn off water for the neighborhood to fix the hole.

In all the sinkhole measured 20 feet by 80 feet. Officials believe it started small, with a pipe bringing water to a home gradually eroding until it washed away the support from under the road.

The Chicago sinkhole caused flooding in a handful of homes, with some residents finding as much as two feet of water in their basements.

Repair crews had some other difficulties to deal with before they could fix the water main and fill the hole. When it opened up, the sinkhole swallowed a tree that was blocking access to the water main.

Water Department officials said it could be a while before the Chicago sinkhole is fixed.

“Depending on what’s underneath it, we’re hoping by the end of the week we should have the street repaired,” said Dep. Comm. Bill Bresnahan, Chicago Water Department. “We will have water on to these people before we leave here, hopefully by the end of the day.”

The sinkhole in Chicago came after a spate of giant holes have plagued Florida in recent months. The Sunshine State has seen a number of sinkholes open up, some small and another large enough to sink a Disney World resort.

Experts say the sinkholes in Florida are a result of the state’s extensive limestone foundation. When underground water eats away at this bedrock, the ground can sink to fill up the now empty space, creating sinkholes.

Chicago has had its share on sinkholes as well, including one in April that swallowed three cars.

The Chicago sinkhole is expected to be repaired within a few days, when water will also be restored to the neighborhood.