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Large void under road prompts closure of major south Edmonton stretch

Large underground void prompts closure of Allendale Road in south Edmonton
WATCH ABOVE: One of Edmonton's busiest intersections was closed Thursday because it might not be safe to travel on. Sarah Kraus reports live from Allendale Road at Calgary Trail, where a large void was found under the road.

It’s a road many Edmontonians use quite frequently but for the next few days, they’re being asked to avoid a section of Calgary Trail.

“Our technical experts have discovered a void — in other words, a large cavity — under the surface of Allendale Road,” EPCOR spokesman Tim le Riche said.

“We had a couple people who were down a manhole there just within the past week and they were doing some pre-construction investigation. When they got in there, they realized something was wrong.”

He couldn’t say how large the space under the road was but said it could stretch under Calgary Trail. As a result, several lanes of that busy route have been closed.

“We understand that this is one of the major access routes in the city. We understand that it’s disruptive. We understand that there’s businesses that are impacted. But what we ask people to understand and consider is that we had to put public safety first,” le Riche said.

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There were also signs of instability at the surface, like cracks in the road, he added.

“In addition to public safety, we also have the drainage line and an important water line passing through the same area. so not only is our concern for public safety, but also to protect public infrastructure, so we just had to do the road closures and step back and do the investigation that we need to do and get the correct information.”

EPCOR is asking drivers to avoid the area at least through the weekend, if possible.

On Thursday afternoon, a geotechnical investigation was taking place that would include taking photos, water and soil samples. That work will likely continue over the weekend.

Once crews get the information they need, they will begin urgent drainage repairs.

“In addition to public safety, we also have the drainage line and an important water line passing through the same area,” le Riche said. “So not only is our concern for public safety, but also to protect public infrastructure. We just had to do the road closures and step back and do the investigation that we need to do and get the correct information.”

Neighbourhood renewal is happening in the Allendale area but EPCOR said it wasn’t connected.

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There are several businesses in the area that have been impacted.

“Most of our customers don’t even want to come to our business right now because of the traffic jams we have,” said Greg Speitelsbach with Southtown NAPA. “They’re done. They don’t want to come here.”

He said he was told that the closures could remain until the end of August.

“It has to be done but it would be nice if they would get on it and get it done in some sort of a fast manner because this is dragging on and on,” Speitelsbach said.

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“From what I can see, they work about eight hours a day. I think maybe they should have a 24-hour job program to get this over with.”

Watch below: Several lanes of one of Edmonton’s busiest streets have been shut down after a void was discovered under Allendale Road near Calgary Trial. Albert Delitala has more reaction from nearby businesses.

Businesses near Allendale Road react to closures
Businesses near Allendale Road react to closures

EPCOR said it’s making sure businesses have water access and trying to come up with access alternatives so customers can get to them.

It’s been tough for Boss Pizza, a new family business that has been hurt by the construction closures.

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“We started getting customers calling for deliveries but we couldn’t get out to them because the roads are blocked from the back and from the side,” employee Shrutika Gupta said. “So we can’t do deliveries and people can’t park anywhere to come pick up, so we have a lot less customers than we usually do.”

She said it’s tough timing.

“It’s really hard on everyone at the store. We’re trying to keep afloat and we’re still new so we don’t have loyal customers — a big base or whatever — so we’re just hoping the construction clears up soon and we can get our customers back,” Gupta said.

Allendale Road connects 61 Avenue to 63 Avenue.