A massive “sinkhole” has opened in the Dormont Pool parking lot, and what it revealed has borough officials baffled.
The ground fell in Wednesday, when the roof of a concrete box buried under the parking lot collapsed—and the borough has no record, no design plans, no indication of such a container ever being buried there.
Borough manager Jeff Naftal said that with no records showing why the box is there, officials don’t know much about what it was used for, or if other containers exist.
“The box is ridiculously large,” Naftal said. “It’s 20 feet wide, 50 feet long, 10 feet deep and it’s buried 7 feet underground. “We had no idea it was there. It doesn’t show on any maps.”
Naftal said that this is not a true sinkhole because it did not occur by natural causes. It is affecting about five parking spaces in the lot, but is not likely to continue expanding.
Dormont crews initially thought the hole was caused by a pipe or underground line, but then the ground continued to collapse Wednesday night into Thursday, revealing the concrete structure underneath.
Because the work proved too extensive for Dormont’s in-house road crew, Niando Construction has been subcontracted to review the situation, excavate the area, fill and re-pave that section of the lot.
There is no cost estimate for the repair work yet. Naftal said he’s hopeful that repairs will be complete by next week, but there are still a lot of questions to answer.
The box does not appear to have contained anything, he said.
“It could have been used for any number of things,” Naftal said. “We don’t know that, and we won’t know, maybe forever, but certainly not before Niando has excavated. We need to see if there are any pipes leading into or out of it, and where those pipes go.”
The borough has not placed parking restrictions on the area, but officials are advising residents to use caution near the site.
Crews from Columbia Gas will continue line work in the area, and Naftal said the collapse is not related to work being done by that company.
Continue to follow Dormont-Brookline Patch as details become available.