A 12-foot-deep sinkhole that appeared sometime overnight closed Belmont Avenue between Arlington Street and Lincoln Avenue on Monday.
The collapse occurred after a turn-of-the-century, handmade sewer line ruptured beneath the street.
“When the sewer collapsed, it pretty much took the street with it,” said Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works.
Shasho said the block could be closed to traffic anywhere from a week to three weeks depending on the extent of the damage. The city will run a camera down the brick pipe today to determine how far up and down Belmont Avenue the repair needs to go. Because of the record-setting amount of rain the Valley has received, Shasho said it will be difficult to see down the pipe while the water continues to gush.
“It’s older than you and me combined,” Skip Geric, an operator for the contract company Marucci and Gaffney Excavating, said of the old sewer line. He remembered a similar occurrence happening last year and estimated repairing a dozen old brick lines during his more than 30 years with the company.
Although Shasho wasn’t sure exactly how much of the city was made up of the antiquated sewer lines, he said they mostly run under the city’s older parts — for example, downtown. Shasho said the city stopped using brick in the 1950s.
Other obstacles the excavators will have to work around are the two live water lines that run to houses for drinking water and lie on both sides of the collapsed sewer line. When repairs do take place, the excavators have to repair and seal the line while working between the two active lines.
“We don’t want to wipe out everyone’s water,” Dino DiFabio, bricklayer for the contract company, said while they stabilized and closed off the area around the sinkhole.