Sinkhole appears in C'wealth Ave West

Sinkhole appears in C'wealth Ave West
A section of road on Commonwealth Avenue West collapsed on 23 December 2013 morning while workers were laying underground electricity cables.

SINGAPORE- A section of road on Commonwealth Avenue West collapsed yesterday morning while workers were laying underground electricity cables.

The sinkhole, the fifth to be reported this year, appeared on the stretch after Dover MRT station and seemed to be as wide as one of the road's three 2m lanes. The affected area was "immediately cordoned off", resulting in a second lane in the direction of the city to be closed, said a spokesman for utility firm SP PowerGrid, which had appointed a contractor to do the cabling works.

Traffic was not badly affected and no one was injured, he added.

It is not yet known what caused the sinkhole. But investigations are ongoing and engineers are assessing the situation, explained the spokesman.

The Straits Times understands that yesterday morning's heavy rain could have resulted in soil getting waterlogged, causing the collapse.

The cabling works, which are scheduled to be completed in March next year, will continue only after the gaping sinkhole has been filled. SP PowerGrid said it could not comment yet on when the sinkhole will be fixed. When The Straits Times went to the worksite in the morning, the sinkhole was already covered by canvas groundsheets.

Officials from the Land Transport Authority and Singapore Power, of which SP PowerGrid is a subsidiary, were also on site. But they did not want to be interviewed. One of the contractor's workmen admitted that "whatever happened was unexpected". He declined to be named.

Yesterday's cave-in is the latest in a string of sinkhole incidents this year. On March 18, a 2m-wide sinkhole appeared on Woodlands Road after excavation works for the Downtown Line 2 destabilised the soil and ruptured an underground water pipe. Earlier the same month, a 2m-wide and 3m-deep sinkhole showed up on Clementi Road, just five days after another similar cave-in there was filled up. On Jan 30, Keppel Road was also hit by a sinkhole, causing a car to fall in.

Former president of the Association of Consulting Engineers Singapore Lim Peng Hong, who owns engineering firm PH Consulting, believes that contractors take enough measures to ensure excavation works are done safely here.

"A lot of precautions are already being taken to ensure there is no adverse impact on nearby properties or ground."


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