Honkin' Mad

This Texas-sized pothole is big enough to swallow a Lexus, and nearly did

A giant sinkhole opened up on West Seventh Street Thursday, nearly swallowing a Lexus during a rainy morning rush hour.

The monstrous collage of collapsed road pavement occurred at the intersection of West Seventh Street and Carroll Street, right next to the Velvet Taco and Montgomery Plaza. The sinkhole appeared to be about 10 feet in diameter, and several feet deep.

Police were called to the area at 8:44 a.m., police spokesman Buddy Calzada said.

No injuries were reported, but a Lexus had to be extracted from the giant hole and towed away, city workers said.

The giant crater took up two lanes of Carroll Street — both the left turn lane and the center lane. Also, the right lane of westbound West Seventh Street remained closed while workers dealt with the cavernous cavity.

Donald Sherry, a field supervisor for the city’s transportation and public works department, says all the cold rain that Fort Worth has experienced this week is the most likely culprit. But he said it’s too early to say for sure what caused the giant hole to open.

He said there are also water and sewer pipes in the area.

“We have a 24-inch storm pipe that runs north-south and a water line, a six-inch (line) that runs the other way, but it’s old,” Sherry said.

The city’s water department has investigated and determined there are no ruptured sewer or water lines in the area, spokeswoman Sandra Baker said.

Fort Worth has had 1.11 inches of cold, steady rain during the past 48 hours, according to the National Weather Service, although no major flooding incidents have been reported.

City officials declined to comment on whether potholes were a chronic problem at West Seventh Street and Carroll Street.

On Thursday, spray paint marks could be seen on the curbsides and sidewalks surrounding the sinkhole. The marks were the kind that usually identify where underground lines are buried, before a work crew begins to dig.

But, apparently a makeover of the intersection isn’t imminent.

“The city does not have any current plans to do a reconstruction of the intersection,” city spokeswoman Janice Thompson-Burgess said in an email. “We are evaluating the area now to decide the best course of action for repair.”

Chelsea Harris, who lived in the neighborhood for three years before recently moving, said she complained to the city about potholes at the intersection repeatedly.

“... I called the city about this for years. It was a pot hole that every time they’d repair it, it would literally start to sink again within a month or so,” she said in an email. “I told them over the phone almost 2.5 years ago that it was obviously going to turn in to a sink hole. So. I’m not sure it had anything to do with the rain and everything to do with shoddy repair jobs every time they’d patch it.”

Staff writer Bill Hanna contributed to this report.

Gordon Dickson joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997. He is passionate about hard news reporting, and his beats include transportation, growth, urban planning, aviation, real estate, jobs, business trends. He is originally from El Paso, and loves food, soccer and long drives.
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