April 29, 2014 7:13 pm

Sinkholes surface following cold winter

REGINA – Frigid temperatures from the past winter continue to wreck havoc on city streets as crews now deal with an unusually high number of sinkholes.

The city says there are about ten problem spots throughout the city, a result of about double the typical number of water leaks during an extremely cold winter.

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“The water doesn’t always surface,” said John Ullrich, manager of water and sewer construction. “Sometimes it’ll travel into a sewer when there is a break, so there’s no indication that there’s a leak. Then the ground will wash out and sooner or later there could be a void and the asphalt will collapse.”

Three weeks ago, part of the street in front of Vanessa Enright’s house on Rowell Crescent in the city’s northwest opened up.

“There’s lots of kids that ride their bikes down the street,” said Enright. “At night, there’s lots of cars that drive down the street and if the barricades get moved or if they fall down, someone’s going to get really hurt.”

The city says the hole on Rowell Crescent is the result of a water leak from 2009 and the damage is only now revealing itself.

Meantime, part of the road along Westgate Avenue, east of the airport, is being swallowed up in three spots.

“There’s one that appeared first and then that second one, right in front of my house, appeared afterwards and it’s gotten bigger,” said Mackenzie Wekerle, who lives on Westgate Avenue. “I know we’ve had issues with water main breaks on our street.”

Typically, Regina doesn’t get a large number of sinkholes: “The clay sticks together a bit more and water will find the least path of resistance to get to the surface,” said Ullrich.

However with about five feet of the ground still frozen, water from underground leaks has difficulty escaping to the surface.

Residents should expect a few more sinkholes over the next month or so, as the ground continues to thaw, said Ullrich.

Update:

By Tuesday afternoon, the sinkhole in front on Rowell Crescent had been filled.

The city was also expected to fix the one along Westgate Avenue.

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