Sinkhole reported in Buffalo, New York

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Looking down at the affected area from the Hotel Lafayette. Lines indicate approximate location of tunnel, red meaning endangered area.
Image: Jason Safoutin.
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This audio file was created from the text revision dated 2008-09-02 and may not reflect subsequent text edits to this report. (audio help)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Buffalo, New York — Officials in Buffalo, New York have closed a portion of a downtown street after a sinkhole was reported. At approximately 4:20 p.m. (Eastern time) Washington street between E. Eagle and Clinton was closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Wikinews was on scene and obtained exclusive photos and statements.

City officials say the sinkhole is located in an area under the road where a tunnel, about 40 feet wide, connects two buildings, formerly the AM&A's warehouse and department store which is now owned by The Bon-Ton. It was first reported last week when portions of the blacktop were seen caving in near the sidewalks. When city engineers examined the holes, they found it to span the entire width of the street and nearly a half the block's length with the hole being nearly 15 feet deep. Officials say the only thing holding up the road, is the thin layer of concrete and asphalt that make up the road's surface.

"I am shocked a car has not went through it (the street)", said a police officer who was coordinating the blocking effort.

Despite today's actions, someone who wishes to remain anonymous tells Wikinews that the problems began nearly 10 years ago, and the city was notified then of the sinkhole.

Officials state that the road will be closed for several months and all pedestrian and vehicle traffic will have to be diverted until further notice. It is not yet known when the repairs will begin. The person wishing to remain anonymous says the repairs could take years instead of months.


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