Sinkhole causing commuter ‘chaos’

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/09/05/city-works-to-fix-sinkhole-reopen-hwy-174

Commuters are anticipating headaches for the rest of the week – or longer – as the giant sinkhole on Hwy. 174 is repaired.

“That’s going to cause traffic chaos around Orléans and on the way out to Cumberland, anybody going east on 174. They’ve got a long haul if it’s going to be like that all week,” said Orléans resident Doug Martin.

He’s retired, but his wife had a tedious drive on Wednesday.

“It normally takes her 10 minutes to get to work. It took her about 45 minutes this morning and coming home is going to be even more fun, ’cause she’ll be coming back to Orléans again,” said Martin.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, a car disappeared into a sinkhole on Hwy. 174 at the eastbound Jeanne D’Arc Blvd. off-ramp.

Juan Pedro Unger, 48, was driving his 2009 Hyundai Accent and managed to escape with just cuts and scrapes.

The car remains 20 metres under the highway, near the 50-year-old storm sewer pipe, which has a 3.6 metre diameter.

“This is not a simple repair and the work will take days, not hours,” reads a statement released from the city Wednesday.

The pipe under the westbound lanes is newer and a city inspection shows it’s in good condition.

At least two dozen workers were on the scene Wednesday, along with two shovellers, a front end loader, and three mounds of sand.

People walking on the Jeanne d’Arc overpass stopped to take photos.

“It’s scary,” said Sarah Taylor.

Even cyclists paused to look, while rubberneckers driving westbound slowed to gawk.

Eastbound traffic was diverted at Blair Rd., and commuters are primarily using Montreal Rd. and Innes Rd.

Westbound travellers aren’t impacted.

OC Transpo buses heading east are being re-routed, and the city is asking residents to use public transit or plan their commutes around peak hours, if possible.

The Jeanne d’Arc bus shelter was taped off, with signage reading Stop Not in Use, directing riders to a different location.

The city is expected to provide updates on the status of the repair and recovery of the car.

Hwy. 174 is closed between Montreal Rd. and Jeanne D’Arc Blvd.

Ottawa police are asking anyone involved in a minor collision without injuries to drive to 3343 St Joseph Blvd. to file a report.

For more information, contact police at 613-236-1222 ext. 7500 or visit ottawa.ca

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

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