Watch CBS News

Two Weeks Later, West Pullman Sinkhole Bigger Than Ever

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Who could forget the pictures, a memorable part of the storm of 2013. A broken sewer line created a giant sinkhole in the street and swallowed three cars.

Two-and-a-half weeks later CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez, returned to West Pullman to see how the patch up job is going.

Like the hole itself, it grew into a bigger job than first thought. Tonight, the hole is bigger than ever, the sewer smell worse than ever, and the residents are being told it will take at least a couple more weeks.

It sits like a giant open sore, blocking traffic, and stinking up the neighborhood.

"I'm frustrated, I am. Who wants to go in a house and keep spraying disinfectant in your living room, dining room, bathroom, kitchen just because of the smell?" said Mary Ann Bowden.

When the images first flashed on news programs across the country, cars piled in this sink hole like toys, there was an outpouring of concern.

"I heard from brother in Tennessee. I heard it from my niece in Texas. They said it was unbelievable," said Bowden

The cause?

"The water line was the original cause of it, that broke. Over time, that saturated the sewer line and that collapsed as well," said Alderman John Pope.

When asked how they know if other nearby sewers are damaged, Pope said, "First of all, the Department of Water Management looks at the age of water and sewer lines."

The city also relies on the public to report sewer back-ups or sinkholes. But Pope says the super-size sinkhole proves a water fee increase two years ago was needed.

"Paying for millions of dollars in infrastructure to get ahead and be more proactive at dealing with challenges like this," said Pope.

"It's taking forever," said Bowden.

Two more chunks of 90 inch sewer cylinders, should patch things up with the street and the neighbors.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.