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Sewer built in 1903 caves, causing huge sinkhole in heart of West View

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 11:54 a.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
A sinkhole, about 20 feet deep, opened up in the far right northbound lane of Perry Highway, Route 19, in West View, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Northbound traffic was detoured onto West View Park Drive, while southbound traffic was detoured onto Center Avenue. The sinkhole opened up after heavy rains on Tuesday, in the location where a repaving job had recently been performed.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
A sinkhole, about 20 feet deep, opened up in the far right northbound lane of Perry Highway, Route 19, in West View, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Northbound traffic was detoured onto West View Park Drive, while southbound traffic was detoured onto Center Avenue. The sinkhole opened up after heavy rains on Tuesday, in the location where a repaving job had recently been performed.

A large sinkhole that formed Wednesday has closed indefinitely a section of Perry Highway (Route 19) near Center Avenue in West View.

The sinkhole, about 20 feet deep, appeared in the far-right northbound lane days after a construction crew repaired a sanitary sewer line in the same area.

After the work on the sanitary sewer, a storm sewer built underneath in 1903 failed, said West View police Chief and borough Manager Bruce Fromlak.

Repairs weren't completed, and recent storms caused the sinkhole to form.

“Unfortunately, the rains hit and it washed out the material that they were using to repair it ... and subsequently the earth caved in,” Fromlak said.

West View Water Authority commissioned a subcontractor to make the repairs, he said.

Fromlak could not provide the name of the contractor.

Northbound and southbound traffic is now detoured onto West Park Drive and Center Avenue.

Crews are repairing the sinkhole, but there is no timeline for when the work will be completed and the section of the road reopened, Fromlak said.

Bill Gleeson, manager of DiPietro's Restaurant on Perry Highway, said the detour could cause headaches for many motorists.

“There's definitely a lot of people who use this road,” Gleeson said. “It's not a long detour, but it's been disrupting local businesses.”

PennDOT advises that motorists use caution when traveling there, in the heart of West View, and be prepared for delays.

West View residents, however, shouldn't fear that other roads will cave in anytime soon.

“This is a unique occurrence,” Fromlak said. “I don't believe that there's any reason for alarm or concern that others are going to pop up like this.”

Christina Gallagher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5637 or cgallagher@tribweb.com.

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