Sinkhole opens up along 610 Loop in southwest Houston

April 29, 2013 8:31:02 PM PDT
A sinkhole began swallowing up part of a feeder road along Loop 610 near Almeda Road on Sunday, and there's no indication of if or when it will be fixed.

The problem began late Sunday afternoon. Just 48 hours after a severe thunderstorm dumped inches of rain on the Houston area the sinkhole opened up on Holt Street, just off the busy Interstate 610 South feeder road.

A city crew was out Sunday night, putting a plate over the sinkhole. They plan to come back and patch it permanently.

Tony Patronella, owner of the business next door, spent the evening worried that his customers wouldn't have a way to get to him if it didn't get patched.

"About 3 o'clock and the hole was about 12 inches wide," Tony Patronella. "By the time I got here by 4:30, it had come to where it is now."

By evening rush hour, it had grown to about 7 feet by 7 feet wide and maybe 15 feet deep.

"It's eating away at the embankment," Patronella said.

Houston police officers taped off the roadway and watched the intersection for hours while the Texas Department of Transportation and the city of Houston figured out who was responsible for fixing it -- a wait that made Patronella none too happy.

"If they hadn't come out here and roped it off, if we hadn't roped it off and somebody would have went in there, they would have died," Patronella said.

In the end, the city decided to take action, telling Eyewitness News it appears water from a broken sanitary sewer line washed away the subsoil, leaving the asphalt to collapse.

But Patronella doesn't care what caused it. He just wants customers to be able to get to his tenants' store.

"At the speed that they're going, if they would have turned in here, they would've crashed," he said.

Workers arrived around 9:30pm Sunday. The first thing crews were doing was fixing the 8-inch sewer line that broke. Officials said once the plate is in place over the sinkhole, it shouldn't pose any danger to drivers.

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