Omaha, Nebraska. March 18th, 2011.

A southwest Omaha road that nearly swallowed a truck this week is starting to get filled by public works crews. It seems like the hole goes on forever.

“It could have done some serious damage,” said Merlin Stahl, who lives near 174th Circle and Valley Drive. He saw the street turn into a one lane road with a giant sinkhole on the other side. It’s 8-feet deep.

“Just made it over the great divide,” said Ken Oster.

The road collapsed as a dump truck passed by. Driver Kelly Hulse felt fortunate he didn’t fall in. “The back of the truck was in it and I drove out.”

On Thursday, city crews, after figuring out why the dirt washed away underneath in the first place, started to fix the road.

With the concrete cleared out of the way, crews began to fill the hole with dirt and tamp it.

It took more than five dump trucks and nearly 30-tons of dirt to fill the initial hole.

In the corner, though, there was a space that looked like it went on forever. That’s where the dirt that had been before it washed away. Public works needs to fill it or the same thing would happen again.

Dirt cannot reach the unknown so workers bring in the cement truck carrying flowable fill. It’s sort of like pancake batter. It self-levels and would go where water would go — only it eventually hardens.

Three cement truck fill the gaps and another truck is needed on Friday. The concrete may go on Monday and cars could start driving on 174th Circle on Tuesday or Wednesday.

So why did the road collapse? The city believes that a 2-and-a-half inch irrigation line under the road had sprung a leak and slowly undermined the road.

The irrigation line was used to water the common areas of the neighborhood on both sides of the road.

 

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