Property Owners Knew of Pipe Condition Inspection Done in 2012 in Area of Large Sinkhole

By Schmitz, Jon | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), August 14, 2014 | Go to article overview

Property Owners Knew of Pipe Condition Inspection Done in 2012 in Area of Large Sinkhole


Schmitz, Jon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The underground pipe collapse Tuesday that caused a massive sinkhole to form along McKnight Road in Ross, swallowing a car, should not have come as a great surprise.

Township officials had the pipe inspected with a closed-circuit camera two years ago and shared the results with private property owners who are responsible for maintaining it, said township manager Douglas Sample.

"There were sections in very deteriorated condition," he said of the pipe, which stretches for nearly 3 miles through the busy commercial district, from just north of the Shoppes at Northway to the Babcock Boulevard interchange near the township line. The tin pipe ranges in diameter from 48 to 60 inches and captures storm water.

The collapse occurred in front of Hollywood Tans, 7599 McKnight Road, about 4 p.m., after a rainstorm. Natalie Huddleston, 49, of Shaler, was trying to back her car out of a parking space when the sinkhole opened, slowly swallowing the car and forcing her to call the salon owner for help in getting out of the vehicle.

Although the collapse caused temporary traffic restrictions on the southbound side of McKnight, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said the roadway was not damaged and all lanes were open Wednesday. PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said the department would continue to monitor the situation.

A contractor, Independent Enterprises, was on-site Wednesday clearing material from the hole to gain access to the collapsed pipe about 15 feet below the surface. …

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