Toronto sinkhole finally coughs up sunken TTC vehicle
City of Toronto crews have finally managed to rescue the TTC inspector's vehicle that fell victim to a massive sinkhole on Commissioners Street early Tuesday morning — but experts say that the situation is far from isolated.
The water-logged TTC sedan emerged from the hole in Toronto's Port Lands district late Tuesday afternoon around 4 p.m. after spending nearly 12 hours underwater.
A crane was used to extract the vehicle, according to TTC spokesperson Stuart Green, but not without some challenges related to the source of the hole itself: Flooding caused by the explosion of a roughly 100-year-old water main running beneath the road.
The vehicle's driver was able to escape without injury long before it was fully submerged. The car is now being assessed to determine its condition, but, as Green jokes, "we have it sitting in rice as we speak."
Like the series of severe thunderstorms that flooded Toronto's downtown core this summer, the high-profile sinkhole incident has many concerned about our very old and ever-aging underground infrastructure.
At least seven similar sinkholes have been reported this year, according to the Toronto Star, which notes that the average Toronto water main is 59 years old.
Thirteen per cent of the city's water pipes are between 80 and 100 years old and 11 per cent have hit the century mark. Roughly 1,400 of these water mains break every year on account of corrosion and thinner-built walls.
A dramatization of the sad state of Toronto infrastructure. TTC vehicle swallowed by a sinkhole. Just classic. https://t.co/B688ITE0kJ— Andrea Micieli (@AndreaMicieli) October 30, 2018
In the Port Lands, where almost everything is built on top of marshland, flooding (both natural and of the broken pipe variety) is of particular concern thanks to the channelization of the Don River, which creates an increased flood risk.
Fortunately, Waterfront Toronto is working with the city and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to address that type of flooding with 'The Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project.'
The goal is to transform the mouth of the Don River into a "healthier, more naturalized river outlet, while simultaneously providing critical flood protection to 240 ha of Toronto's eastern waterfront" by 2024.
Waterfront Toronto says that, while the Port Lands Flood Protection project won't address aging underground infrastructure like this particular pipe, it will build new underground infrastructure within the project area.
These new pipes for stormwater and wastewater management, among other things, will support future development in the area (the kind we'll eventually see on Toronto's brand new Villiers Island.)
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