Sinkhole In Bethlehem Forces Family To Evacuate - KMSP-TV

More Sinkholes Discovered In Bethlehem Neighborhood

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Yellow caution tape surrounds the area where a sinkhole opened in Northampton County Sunday. Yellow caution tape surrounds the area where a sinkhole opened in Northampton County Sunday.
An official on site tells FOX 29 the hole is big enough to fit at least two cars inside. An official on site tells FOX 29 the hole is big enough to fit at least two cars inside.
The sinkhole opened underneath a driveway on the 1500 block of 2nd Street in Bethlehem. The sinkhole opened underneath a driveway on the 1500 block of 2nd Street in Bethlehem.
NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, Pa. -

Emergency work continues on a massive sinkhole in Bethlehem Township Monday morning. The 40-foot wide hole opened up Sunday morning near the corner of 2nd Street and Wilson Avenue after a sewer line break earlier in the week. One home has been evacuated.

"It's pretty upsetting to see your whole driveway fall into a hole" said Inge Jenkins.   The homeowner was told by police her home was not safe and hey must leave immediately.  Her mother and teenage daughter who live with her spent the morning gathering up boxes of clothes and pets to stay with other family members.  Police told them to expect to be gone for 2 weeks.

"I wasn't thinking this is the way I'd be spending my Sunday afternoon" Jenkins said.

 

 Bethlehem Township officials say the 36 year old 16-inch iron sewer line burst at some point last week.  A smaller sinkhole was reported on Tuesday but that was stabilized. Utility crews didn't know how big the problem was until Sunday morning.  Crews spent all day at the site trying to install a temporary sewer line.

 

"We have geotechnical engineer that is going to analyze the entire area tomorrow (Monday). He will let us know exactly what needs to be done" said Steve Hunsberger, Director of Physical Plant of Bethlehem Township.

 

Courtney Smith who lives across the street from the sinkhole watched from her driveway as utility crews brought in huge bulldozers and lighting equipment to help repair the street. Police have told her she may have to evacuate as well.

"Everybody in the house has bags ready to go" said Smith.   Families in the area have been told crews will be working in the area for at least a week. Meanwhile, more smaller depressions in the ground keep popping up in the area, prompting a warning by local police.

"They said you should be safe unless you hear creaking or smell sewage or the doors don't open then call 911" said Smith.

Hunsberger says crews will be working through the night and into next week to fix the sinkholes and hoping more holes don't open up.

"It's pure speculation. We didn't expect the see those holes until this morning. So can it happen it could" he said.

Experts say limestone geography of the area is prime for sinkholes especially during the damp season. 

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