Sinkhole Montreal: Massive Street Collapse Swallows Backhoe, Draws Attention To City’s Aging Infrastructure [VIDEO]
A sinkhole in Montreal, the largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec, has caused quite a jam at an intersection downtown. The giant Montreal sinkhole, which measures roughly 26 feet long, 16 feet wide and 9 feet deep, collapsed Monday morning, pulling a backhoe down with it. The roadway is closed to traffic, as investigators try to get to the bottom of what caused the road to crumble.
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"All of a sudden we saw from far that the whole street just caved in, and we could see the top of the tractor," eyewitness Christine Komorowski told CTV News of the Montreal sinkhole. "It was unbelievable."
The sinkhole occurred near the corner of St. Catherine and Guy streets, a busy intersection in downtown Montreal. Luckily, no one was hurt when the Montreal sinkhole collapsed.
According to The Daily Mail, the backhoe, which had been brought to the intersection to repair a city sewer pipe that had leaked over the weekend, was chipping away at the asphalt when the ground underneath it gave way. The driver of the backhoe was pulled in with it, but fortunately was not seriously injured. Crews put up metal fences around the Montreal sinkhole, and police quickly blocked off streets and rerouted traffic.
So what caused the gaping Montreal sinkhole to collapse?
According to CTV News, sinkholes in Montreal are not uncommon and are the result of an aging and outdated underground sewer infrastructure. In fact, the brick sewer pipe the crew was there to fix was over 130 years old, and the roadway was held up by buried railway tires.
Montreal's aging infrastructure is partly to blame for the massive sinkhole in Montreal's downtown. Global National reports that about 20 percent of the pipes in Montreal are over a hundred years old.
"Old, deteriorated infrastructure which has not been cared for. Some of it is already dead," Saeed Mirza of McGill University told Global National.
"Unfortunately I was not surprised it happened," Jean Fortier, an engineering consultant and former chair of the Montreal executive committee, told CBC News about the Montreal sinkhole. Apparently, the city hasn't invested in updating its worn-out city frame in over 40 years.
Global National reports on the Montreal sinkhole in this video uploaded to YouTube:
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