If you followed the line of cement trucks down Agricola Street this morning, you would have found yourself looking down into a gaping sinkhole in the asphalt. Photos of the sinkhole began to circulate on social media at around 7am Monday, but construction crews did not arrive at the scene—just south of Sarah Street, near the Halifax Common end of Agricola—until 9-10am.
Workers at the site understand the sinkhole was caused by a water main break in a pipe that had recently been installed. “I think what happened was the pipe underneath burst and a bunch of water came out,” said Jason Josiah, one of several members of the crew assigned to fill the hole. “Now we have to tear out the entire old pipeline and put a new one in.”
According to novascotia.ca, sinkholes can range in size “from 1 to 600 m both in diameter and depth,” and will either form “gradually or by sudden collapse.” Today’s sudden-collapse sinkhole was just over 5 metres across, about the size of the cement truck designated to it.
Not uncommon in Nova Scotia, “90 percent of new sinkholes in populated areas are induced by human activity.” The government recommends that if a sinkhole forms in your neighbourhood, you should keep a safe distance; put rope, pylons or some other warning marker around the hole; and contact local law enforcement (and your insurance company as necessary).
We don't know about the city's insurance company, but pylons were in full effect at the Agricola sinkhole, as was yellow "Caution" tape, "street closed" signage and several workers wearing reflective vests. Crews said the Agricola sinkhole would be filled sometime between 5-6pm, and shortly after 5pm things were indeed back to normal.