Sinkhole Swallows Port Authority Bus On Busy Street In Downtown Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A massive sinkhole opened up in downtown Pittsburgh during the Monday morning rush hour, swallowing the back half of a Port Authority bus and nearly a car with it.

Emergency crews have been on the scene all day at Penn Avenue and 10th Street, near the Westin Hotel. They were called there just before 8 a.m., and are expected to be there into the evening hours.

Officials say it will take quite some time to remove the bus. Afternoon rush hour traffic and fans looking for parking before tonight’s Pittsburgh Steelers game at Heinz Field could be impacted.

Director of Pittsburgh Public Safety Wendell Hissrich says the impact will last even longer than just Monday night. He says 10th Street will be closed for at least one to two weeks.

The entire back of the bus is in the hole with the front half sticking up in the air.

The G31 Bridgeville Flyer bus was stopped at a red light when the hole opened underneath it, the Port Authority said.

According to Port Authority officials, the back half of their buses are by far the heaviest part, because that is where the engine is located.

The Port Authority updated their numbers later in the morning, saying only two people – the driver and a passenger – were on the bus when the sinkhole opened beneath. Both were able to get off. Originally, officials believed 10 people were on-board.

The bus driver was not hurt, but Port Authority officials say the passenger was taken to Allegheny General Hospital to be treated for some minor neck pain.

We are grateful for ⁦@PghPublicSafety⁩ and that no one was seriously injured. We’re being told a crane needs to be brought in to remove the bus and it will be several hours before it can be extracted. Detours in the area will likely remain in place the remainder of the day.

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11411:05 AM – Oct 28, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy39 people are talking about this

Penn Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets is shut down as crews try to figure out how to remove the bus safely.

“The problem that we’re having is that we have to lift that Port Authority bus straight up, because we have a Duquesne Light electrical vault involved, we have several gas lines involved and we don’t want to create any further problems than what we have now. Traffic is going to be a problem for the next eight to 10 hours. I know that we have a Steelers game tonight.”

The sinkhole is about 20 feet deep.

Authorities say the bus is sitting on three major power lines. Those will need to be turned off before the bus can be removed. During that process, some downtown businesses could lose power, and at least one is already without water.

Crews are bringing in large cranes to then lift the bus out of the sinkhole.

As of Monday evening just before 5 p.m., two cranes have arrived.

Hissrich says it will take three to four hours to build the crane and then 60 to 90 minutes to lift the bus.

The car that was behind the bus was towed away safely. That driver was not hurt.

Pgh Public Safety@PghPublicSafety

UPDATE: The Blue Kia Optima has been safely removed from sink crew. Officials examining bus.
Contrary to some reports, there are no evacuation orders in place at this time. Subject to change. Updates to come. …

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Pgh Public Safety@PghPublicSafetyALERT: Big sink hole downtown. Avoid area. Two people on ⁦@PGHtransit⁩ bus, one transported to hospital w minor injuries. Kids at Small World child care evacuated to Westin, and are happy and safe. Public safety evaluating situation. More updates to come.1209:57 AM – Oct 28, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy86 people are talking about this

Pittsburgh Police, Public Safety and Fire, along with Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman were all on scene.

Officials with Pittsburgh Public Safety say children who attend Small World Child Care, located along Penn Avenue, were evacuated from the building as a precaution and taken to the Westin Hotel. All are safe. There is no water to the daycare center building.

The Port Authority says a number of bus routes will be impacted by the accident. They have tweeted a list of the routes:

Port Authority Alerts@PghTransitAlert · 23h

There is a sink hole reported on Penn Ave near 10th St. Several routes are expected to deviate away from this intersection and patrons are advised to anticipate delays. We will provide additional information as soon as possible.

Port Authority Alerts@PghTransitAlert

The 91 Butler St will missing the following stop locations:
Penn Ave & 11th St (2833)
Penn Ave & Garrison Pl (2834)
Penn Ave & 9th St (2835)
Please use the next available stop location.18:11 AM – Oct 28, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Port Authority Alerts’s other Tweets

Port Authority Alerts@PghTransitAlert · 23hReplying to @PghTransitAlert

The 86 Liberty, 88 Penn, and 87 Friendship will miss the following stop locations:
Penn Ave & Garrison Pl (2834)
Penn Ave & 9th St (2835)
Please use the next available stop location.

Port Authority Alerts@PghTransitAlert

The 29 Robinson, 31 Bridgeville, and G31 Bridgeville flyer will miss the following stop locations:
Penn Ave & Garrison Pl (2834)
Penn Ave & 9th St (2835)

We will provide updates as we receive them.8:19 AM – Oct 28, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Port Authority Alerts’s other Tweets

They are telling riders to anticipate heavy delays.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is also investigating.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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