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McKnight Road stable despite sinkhole, repairs begin

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, 11:12 a.m.
James Knox | Trib Total Media
Crews work to fix a sinkhole Wednesday morning Aug. 13, 2014 in front of the Hollywood Tan building along McKnight Road in Ross.
James Knox | Trib Total Media
Crews work to fix a sinkhole Wednesday morning Aug. 13, 2014 in front of the Hollywood Tan building along McKnight Road in Ross.
James Knox | Trib Total Media
Crews work to fix a sinkhole Wednesday morning Aug. 13, 2014 in front of the Hollywood Tan building along McKnight Road in Ross.

An underground stream that runs along the west side of McKnight Road is cause for concern for some Ross businesses owners who watched a 40-foot sinkhole open up in a parking lot this week.

With a thunk and a tilt, Shaler resident Natalie Huddleston's car began to sink into the earth about 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday when she was leaving a tanning appointment at Hollywood Tans in the 7500 block of McKnight Road.

She climbed out her car window, and within five minutes, her car disappeared into an expanding water-filled sinkhole that opened when a pipe that contains the underground stream known as McKnight Run collapsed.

“It's pretty scary,” said Justin Kuhn, whose family owns nearby Dutch Girl Dry Cleaners. “I mean, it's right there.”

The privately owned pipes route water from McKnight Run stream to Girty's Run, a tributary of the Allegheny River. McKnight Run runs under the dry-cleaning parking lot as well as many other parking lots along the commercial district, though Kuhn said contractors told Dutch Girl Dry Cleaners owners that the ground in front of their business is stable.

PennDOT officials said Wednesday that the collapse did not undermine Mc-Knight Road, said Steve Cowan, PennDOT District 11 spokesman.

Hollywood Tans owner Maria Masley of Monroeville said that she hopes to reopen the business within a week, and at this point, she does not think the building has been damaged.

“I would have never expected that along there,” she said.

Masley rents the building from property owner RGB North LLC, and she said the company is taking care of repairs. A representative of RGB could not be reached for comment.

Crews were on site on Wednesday repairing the pipe, Ross Detective Brian Kohlhepp said. The township is not responsible for the cost, he said.

Township officials have within the past three years notified businesses along McKnight Road about deteriorating underground pipes.

“This was one of the pipes that hadn't been fixed,” Kohlhepp said. “This isn't the start of a widespread issue.”

Sally Power, executive director of Treasure House Fashions, a nonprofit consignment store, recently purchased a building at 7607 McKnight Road to relocate her store from McCandless. She was shocked by the news of the sinkhole.

“I was in a panic,” Power said. “Because our new building was just two stores down, I was very concerned.”

Power said she plans to investigate the parking lot when she begins renovations late this year.

“Hopefully, this will be an opportunity for us to help the community by working to stabilize this,” she said.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or kshea@tribweb.com.

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