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Repairs Complete, Barricades Down Nearly 1 Year After Sinkhole Swallows Bus Downtown

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Nearly one year after a giant sinkhole opened in downtown Pittsburgh, swallowing half of a Port Authority bus, repairs are now complete and the road is reopening to traffic.

The barriers that have blocked 10th Street since last Oct. 28 came down at 11 a.m. on Thursday, authorities with the City of Pittsburgh say.

Repairs to the road have been extensive.

Duquesne Light, Peoples Gas, Comcast, Verizon, Port Authority, Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Thermal (PACT), and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority all assisted with the repairs.

Pittsburgh Public Safety first estimated fixing the nearly 20-foot sinkhole would take about eight weeks, but, because of extensive infrastructure damage beneath the roadway, the timeline changed to months.

Work was also suspended for several weeks when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March. It eventually resumed in May.

After that, there was some hope the road would reopen in the summer, but now, it's nearly a year later.

"The underground ductwork that had to be done by the utilities and pact was substantial," said Dan Gilman, Mayor Bill Peduto's chief of staff.

Bryan Mathie, who lives nearby, said, "it really put a kink in moving around and living your life in the area."

PWSA cleared more than 2,500 tons of debris from the sewer below.

"We actually had to bring in barges and do some of that work from the riverside," Gilman told KDKA.

Contracted PWSA crews filled the hole with more than 700 tons of stone. They topped it off with nearly 400 tons of fresh concrete and replaced hundreds of bricks.

Overall, crews logged more than 1,000 hours completing the project. But the question on everybody's mind is, 'Could this happen again?' Gilman believes it can.

"This is what happens when a country doesn't invest in infrastructure. We're seeing it with landslides. We're seeing it with sinkholes," said Gilman.

The restoration nearly cost $1.5 million, not including utilities. The city and PWSA will split the expenses 50/50

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Rob Hopson)

Last October, the G31 Bridgeville Flyer bus was stopped at a red light on 10th Street when the hole opened underneath it. The entire back of the bus ended up in the hole with the front half sticking up in the air. A car was nearly swallowed with it.

The specific measurements of the hole, according to the city, 60 by 35 by 18 feet deep.

No one was injured, but it took two cranes to pull the bus from the hole.

Keeping their humor, the City of Pittsburgh bid farewell to the infamous sinkhole with a tweet, "Thanks for the memes."

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