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Roadway Collapses In Seneca, Illinois After Overnight Flooding; Truck Nearly Falls Into Creek

SENECA, Ill. (CBS)-- There was a gaping hole where a road used to be in Seneca, Illinois Tuesday afternoon, and a truck stuck on top where the pavement crumbled underneath.

Police said the bridge collapsed just before 11 p.m. on River Road in Seneca – a village of about 2,400 sitting on the Illinois River in LaSalle and Grundy counties southwest of Chicago.

As CBS 2's Meredith Barack reported, the hole measured anywhere from 12 to 18 feet deep. Heavy rain amounting to 5 to 6 inches caused the creek water underneath to rise, causing the roadway to collapse.

"Nobody really expects that much rain at once," said Seneca police Chief George Lamboley.

Video showed an incredible scene – with a truck resting both bumpers on either side of the washed-away road.

We've learned the truck belongs to the LaSalle County Highway Department, and one of their employees was behind the wheel.

"He was able to climb out through the window with the help of some good Samaritans, be pulled off the hood of his truck to safety," Lamboley said.

Another UPDATE: River Rd between DuPont and Brookfield is closed until further notice due to a road collapse. Please...

Posted by Seneca Police Department on Monday, July 12, 2021

Lamboley considers the driver incredibly lucky, as the outcome could have been incredibly different.

"His truck fit perfectly over the hole and that he didn't actually fall in into the hole himself, even get swept away down to the river because of the way the water was running," he said.

Photos showed the truck being towed away.

"The front of it was going to fall in because it was still collapsing," said Thomas Lamb of Snowdance Towing. "It was one of the more complicated, because it happened to be the right length to fall through."

Late Wednesday, the hole was blocked by barricades as crews surveyed the damage.

"It could be replacing the entire, not only the roadway that washed away, but the bridge that accompanies with it," Lamboley said.

As for when River Road and its gaping hole will be fixed, it will be a while.

"That's going to take time," Lamboley said. "That's going to take money to do it fiscally responsible but in a quick, timely fashion - that's going to be the difficult thing that my village is going to have to figure out how to do."

As for the driver, we're told he was a little banged up because the airbags did deploy. He was resting at home late Tuesday.

Chief Lamboley urged people not to go behind the barricades to get a look at the hole. He is concerned about the road's instability and the possibility it could collapse more.

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