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East End water main breaks a second time, reopens sinkhole

Second East End water main break and sinkhole
Posted at 4:59 PM, Feb 20, 2021

Crews working to repair roads and damage caused by a water main break last month on Riverside Dr. in the East End were already done fixing the first break when a secondary break at around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning reopened and expanded a large sinkhole that swallowed a construction vehicle on site.

Construction crews were not actively working when the vehicle fell into the sinkhole and no one was hurt.

"We had a secondary incident in that same area associated with another water main break," said Jason Fleming, superintendent of water distribution with the Greater Cincinnati Water Works. "Not really sure yet exactly what happened."

Drone of Riverside Drive water main break
A secondary water main break on Riverside Drive reopened and expanded a sinkhole early Saturday morning.

The 60-inch water main — one of the largest in the Greater Cincinnati Water Works system — broke in early January, creating a sinkhole so wide and deep that it swallowed a car parked along Riverside.

Riverside Drive has been completely shut down near the Le Blond Community Center in the East End since then while crews worked to repair heavily damaged roads in the area.

Fleming said the water main break from January was repaired one week ago and crews had moved on to testing water pressure and water samples before eventually fixing the road. The new break is in the same 60-inch pipe that broke previously.

"We've got it all turned off and shut down," he said. "We're in the process of digging it out to see what happened and we'll go from there. Hopefully we'll know more soon."

GCWW plans to meet on Monday to revisit its plans to repair the water main, but as of now Fleming said the department still expects to finish by the end of March -- the original timeline set out in January after the first break.