Saturday, November 07, 2009

Road collapses in Belfast - Water Service looking into it

Couldn't resist the post title!

The Water Service have spent the last three or four of years tunnelling under the streets of Belfast with a giant mole to improve the quality and performance of Belfast's sewers - creating pipes large enough for Top Gear to drive electric Minis through.

Belfast Cromac Street road collapse - image (c) BBC

But this morning, a large stretch of tarmac on Cromac Street collapsed today near the junction with East Bridge Street. I first caught wind of the problems through a series of tweets from CitiGolf Belfast which got progressively more surreal!

Arrived at work this morning at Citigolf Belfast to find the road outside has collapsed by about 5ft, it looks mad.

Looks like the new Belfast sewers have hit some trouble. Outside Citigolf the whole thing has collapsed. Expect Massive Traffic delays

Citigolf Belfast is falling into this hole.This is worrying now. This hole in the ground now looks massive.

Citigolf Belfast. Now organising tours for people wanting a close view of the Belfast hole Booking Essential as we might have fallen into it

Expansion plans for Citigolf Belfast making good progress. Have the diggers out front making new green & bunker since early morning

As well as hosting golf simulators that "allow you to experience the game of golf on over 57 world famous championship courses" indoor, Citigold have a wry sense of humour.

Working on the Cromac Street road collapse - photo from Colin Parte / @Herrbenz

There are a variety of theories to explain the collapse.

The BBC confirm that

The depression in the road is above a storm-water tunnel in the multi-million pound Belfast Sewers Project.

while UTV carry a statement from NI Water explaining

NI Water staff are on site and are working closely with other utilities to secure the site, a full investigation is under way to determine the cause of the road depression."

"NI Water will commence repairs as soon as possible.

"NI Water would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to the public.

So it could be a sewer problem ...

On the other hand, Belfast Sleech could be to blame.

Roads Service spokesman Colin Brown said the city is built upon a deposit of soft clay, silt and mud known as "Belfast Sleech".

"Periodically we can get voids forming under the roads," he said.

"Sometimes it's very clear what has caused it, other times it's quite a mystery."

Hole in the road in Cromac Street - photo by Colin Parte / @Herrbenz

The one definite fact about the collapse is that it will not be fixed overnight and will cause traffic problems on Monday. Translink have already diverted Metro and Ulsterbus services around the area, while the BBC report that "an emergency meeting will be held on Sunday to discuss the potential traffic disruption in the city centre."

(Top photo taken from BBC news article, the rest with permission from Colin Parte / @herrbenz.)

Update - Now reckoned to be caused by an underground air bubble disturbed by the sewer work last year and finally rose to the surface. Only one week of traffic chaos predicted!

1 comment:

Stephen Barnes said...

By noon Cromac Street was closed and hoarding was erected to stop people seeing. Diggers were ripping up the road. Some great views from Tele House though ;-)