Sinkhole shuts down southbound St. Mary’s Road

WINNIPEG – City crews are working to open up at least one of the Southbound lanes on St. Mary’s Road after a large void in the pavement shut down the street Wednesday afternoon.

“That’s a hole!” said one passerby. “I’m glad my car didn’t go in there. That could swallow a Smart car.”

UPDATE: Sinkhole continues to affect St. Mary’s traffic, becomes tweet sensation

It was a long commute home for a number of city residents, as traffic was backed up for blocks even before rush hour.

“I’ve been in it for over 45 minutes already,” said one motorist. “It’s crazy.”

The southbound lanes of St. Mary’s shut down just before 3 p.m. Wednesday after a portion of the road caved in near Guay Park and Morier Avenue.

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The southbound lanes of St. Mary’s Road shut down just before 3 p.m. Wednesday after a portion of the road caved in near Guay Park and Morier Avenue. Josh Arason/Global News

A city spokesperson told Global News the sinkhole was caused by a dislodged sewer pipe.

“Preliminary information indicates that the void in the pavement on southbound St. Mary’s Road at Morier Avenue is likely caused by a sewer pipe that connects the catch basin to the main sewer,” the city said in an email. “This pipe likely became dislodged. Water flowing into this catch basin  would have continued to wash out the soil underneath this road, until the concrete caved under its own weight.”

The city said the road would be opened up to traffic as soon as it is safe enough, but there was no word on how long that would take. One city worker indicating the road will likely be closed the rest of Wednesday and possibly Thursday morning.

Remarkably, no vehicles fell into the massive crater.

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A sinkhole closed St. Mary’s Road southbound at Morier Avenue on Wednesday. Josh Arason

Experts have been saying it wouldn’t just be potholes but sinkholes blemishing the city’s roads following the harsh winter that saw hundreds of water main breaks and frost several feet deep. While there have been other sinkholes this year, this might very well be the biggest of them yet.

“Holy smokes,” said one resident. “It’s unbelievable. It’s like a circus here!”

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