A water main on Walker Drive in the Glenmore area of Kelowna broke and saturated the ground, Wednesday morning, creating a large sinkhole.
And that hole swallowed the rear wheels of a large city vacuum truck sent to the site to clean up the mess on the road caused by the water main break.
According to Wayne Nadasde, a construction supervisor for the city who was on the scene Wednesday morning, the road surface likely gave way because of the weight of the truck.
He said crews were not only working to fix the problem and the road, but were also investigation to see if the water main had been leaking for some time, eroding the earth below the road surface.
Nadasde said the situation was a little unusual in that there is normally a good indication as to how big a sink hole could be based on the amount of debis washed down the street. But, he said, in this case the problem appeared to be much larger under the road surface than the downslope debris at first indicted.
He estimated the size of the area beneath the road weakened at about six feet across and 10 to 12 feet in length.
“This was completely unexpected,” he said.
Gord Hotchkiss, who lives right at the point on the road where the truck’s rear wheels fell into the hole when the rod surface gave way, said he was talking with a city crew member when it happened around 9:15 a.m.
“The truck was backing up and the road just gave way, he said.
No one was injured in the accident and no homes were evacuated due to the road problem.
Hotchkiss said residents were woken around 6 a.m. by city crews knocking on their doors, He said his family managed to move their vehicles down the street but water had been shut off the the homes in the area.
He said the higher part of Walker Drive (which is a steep street at the foot of Dilworth) gets its water from the Glenmore-Ellison Irrigation District, while the lower part of the road gets its water from the city.
It’s was not immediately clear which of the two water mains broke
City spokesman Tom WIlson said the road surface break was not technically a sink hole, but rather liquefied earth beneath the road surface.
The repair was expected to take several hours and in the meantime residents of the 12-14 homes affected by the water main break will need to park their vehicles at the bottom of Walker Drive and walk up the road to their houses.
“The road wasn’t in good shape,” said Hotchkiss. “I guess now we’ll get a new road sooner rather than later.”