• Busy Renton road closed by sinkhole

    By: Siemny Kim , David Solano

    Updated:

    A large sinkhole has shut down a busy stretch of Rainier Avenue North in Renton.

    Crews have been working throughout the day and night to make repairs.

    The city says temporary pavement repairs will start Friday morning on the hole that opened up Wednesday near 117th Place.

    Crews have had the street closed off since the discovery and it's not clear when it will be reopened.

    “The sinkhole is about 15 feet wide, 15 feet long and 15 deep,” Gregg Zimmerman, Renton’s Public Works Administrator, said. “It’s a large hole.”

    Repair crews immediately got to work and shut down the 900 block of Rainier Avenue North in both directions.

    It's an inconvenience for folks like Anecia Thomas who is a student at the Shador Institute of Cosmetology on Rainier.

    “I don't live too far off, but we are going to have to find a different route now that back there is closed,” Anecia Thomas said. “So I probably have to take around Rainer Beach to get home now."

    Zimmerman said an old 36 inch pipe is to blame.

    “It has deteriorated and opened up over time so it started leaking and it has eroded the material under the road and created this big sinkhole,” Zimmerman explained.

    Crews have to dig down to remove the broken pipe, replace it and then fill up the hole.

    In the meantime, they're just glad no one was hurt.

    “To a certain extent, it was a dangerous situation and it’s fortunate we discovered it, and fixing it before anybody did get hurt,” Zimmerman said.

    “My grandmother goes this way, too, so imagine her going over there,” Thomas added. “That scares the crap out of me. Glad they caught it early.”

    Crews fix massive sinkhole; Rainier Avenue North reopens

    For the third straight day, a sinkhole shut down both lanes of busy Rainier Avenue North. 

    All lanes reopened on Friday, Feb. 9, but the long repair project impacted traffic and businesses.

    The sinkhole was so large, it took much longer to repair than expected.

    Chopper 7 captured video from above on Wednesday, Feb. 7 after the massive sinkhole opened up.

    Gregg Zimmerman, an administrator with the public works department in Renton, said an old storm drainage pipe caused all of the problems, which led to the sinkhole.

    "It eroded out the material from under the road and caused a big void space under the road,” said Zimmerman.

    Fortunately, nobody got hurt.

    "One of our police officers noticed that a hole had actually opened in the pavement,” said Zimmerman. “Well, we know that it was a big problem then."  

    Jade Kim, who has owned QC Cleaners for nearly 30 years, said business has been very slow lately.

    "Yesterday, [there were only] two or three persons [who were able to] come in [to get their dry cleaning],” said Kim. "[If] I'm slow [in terms of business] it’s okay, but my customers need the clothing." 

    And customers said it's been a challenge to pick up their dry cleaning.

    "Other businesses around the neighborhood; yeah, they are affected,” Ennis Ticeson, owner of The Shop Ennis Ticeson Hair Design, said. “You don't see the traffic that we need but at the same time we have loyal customers that keep us going, which is a great thing.” 

    But Ticeson is relieved that the sinkhole is finally fixed, and traffic is now moving in both directions, just in time for the weekend.

    "Saturday, you know, [is our] milk and honey [and] bread and butter [type of day at the barbershop],” said Ticeson with a smile. “Whatever you want to call it."  

    And whatever you call it, the fix is good for business.

    "Thank you,” Kim said with a smile.

    Renton Mayor Denis Law released a statement saying in part that the Public Works staff should be commended on the way they responded to this emergency.

     


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