Sinkhole repairs to be completed today in West View


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Just in time for the Fourth of July, a giant sinkhole in West View is expected to be repaired today after disrupting traffic on Perry Highway for the past two weeks.

Bob Zischkau, West View borough engineer, said the road just south of the intersection with Center Avenue was on target to reopen this afternoon after temporary pavement is installed.

The weather had hampered the efforts of construction workers to repair the pipes running beneath the surface and refill the hole, which was caused by the partial collapse of a storm culvert more than 20 feet below the ground, Mr. Zischkau said.

"With the heavy and intense rainfalls we've had over the past two weeks, it washed the area underneath the surface into the storm sewer," Mr. Zischkau said.

Traffic was detoured about half a mile around the sinkhole, which grew to roughly 25 feet long, 15 feet wide and more than 20 feet deep. West View Police Lt. Matt Holland said the hole piqued the curiosity of residents, who, for the most part, expressed few complaints.

Grotto Bar & Grill, which is next to the sinkhole, had to remain closed during construction, Mr. Holland said.

The sanitary sewer line, water line and gas line where the sinkhole was located all had to be replaced, said Randy Zischkau, the borough engineer's brother who also worked on the sinkhole site.

He said backup in the sewer system farther down the line alerted the borough to the void that had formed under the road.

Randy Zischkau said that while he cannot be sure, he estimates the hole beneath the surface had existed for a few weeks before it was detected by local officials. He said reinforced concrete under the asphalt surface of the road likely helped support it when cars ran over it.

"Ultimately, if we had not found it, it could have been much worse. In this case, we did have a level of protection," Randy Zischkau said.

Kim Ciccone, who works at Dunkin' Donuts next to the sinkhole and across the street from Grotto, said sales were down about 12 percent due to construction.

To make the most of the disruption, the shop added a "sinkhole doughnut" to the menu, a French cruller filled with chocolate cream. By 11 a.m. Tuesday, all dozen of the sinkhole doughnuts made that morning were gone.

Randy Zischkau estimates that the storm culvert responsible for the sinkhole was more than 100 years old.

He said it was probably constructed around the turn of the 20th century for the West View amusement park, which stood where West View Park shopping center is located.

neigh_north

Gavan Gideon: ggideon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-4910.


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