Skip to main content

Downtown Windsor, Ont. sinkhole repair to likely last until Thursday


A downtown Windsor intersection remains closed to traffic after a large sinkhole developed Monday evening.

And while there’s no threat to public safety, it will be a few days before the issue is fixed and the road reopens, officials said.

A two metre hole developed at the intersection of University Avenue and Church Street at approximately 5:30 p.m. Monday.

“I’m concerned about our neighborhood for sure, but who’s expecting a sinkhole to open up in the middle of an intersection?” said Tina Labbate, who lives nearby.

Roads were blocked off in all directions to secure the area and the investigation began in earnest Tuesday morning.

“We were able to act immediately get out here and start the investigation, close it off for the public,” said Mark Winterton, the city’s commissioner of infrastructure services. “Luckily, nobody got injured in this development of the sinkhole.”

Crews are currently expanding the hole, including pressure washing packed soil and clay and digging up the road around the sinkhole. As of Tuesday evening, the hole in the ground stretched almost the entire length of the intersection.

So far, investigators have ruled out a water main break.

“But we believe that this is likely a catch basin lead that has come loose, so that's part of the investigation,” said Winterton, who said sinkholes develop when below ground pipes and other infrastructure fail, causing the soil to weaken.

“And the road structure might be such that it can actually bridge the hole or the gap for a period of time. And once the hole gets big enough, the collapse will happen because it can no longer bridge over the top of that hole,” he added.

According to Winterton, these “settlements” happen all the time, all over the city.

“We have many settlements around the city on any given day. And usually, we can get to them before they become a public safety issue,” Winterton said. “Premature failure could happen and that sort of thing is a possibility really at any time.”

The city does preventative maintenance with closed circuit cameras, but with thousands of kilometres of sewers and water mains throughout the city, that’s a process that can take two years, said Winterton.

Downtown Windsor and other older neighbourhoods are especially prone because of the age of pipes below the road.

“We try to be as proactive as possible, but in this case here, we might not have gotten to it in time,” he said, and added once crews pinpoint the issue, they will fix it, fill the hole with dirt and re-pave the road.

The city hopes to have the road reopened by Thursday afternoon. 

Crews work to repair a sinkhole in downtown Windsor on April 30, 024. (Rich Garton/CTV News Windsor) Top Stories

Stay Connected