A sinkhole on Old Canal Street in the Antiquity neighborhood east of downtown Cornelius widened Sunday night, leading to a power outage that threw the neighborhood into darkness. Residents of nearby townhomes were evacuated for several hours amid fears that a gas line under the street might be affected.
The outage began around 7:45pm. Cornelius firefighters received a call about an outside fire in the neighborhood and arrived to find that a transformer had blown and power was out.
Power was restored around 8am Monday after workers re-routed underground power lines into an above-ground conduit.
Cornelius firefighters, a structural engineer from Charlotte Fire Department, and workers from ElectriCities and PSNC gas company all responded to the scene Sunday night, and examined the sinkhole, the gas line and electrical lines. They found earth collapsing and a retaining wall failing.
The sinkhole formed on Monday, April 15, in an area of undeveloped lots on Old Canal Street. The earth caved in on one side of the street, facing a fence and the retaining wall overlooking a creek below.
Resident John Young said in a Twitter message to CorneliusNews.net Sunday night that nearby homes had been evacuated. “Just walked to scene. Nearby homes evacuated. Waiting on power company. Hole is definitely bigger,” he said.
Fire officials said later that utility workers on scene were advised to stay away until an inspection deemed the sinkhole area safe. Eight townhomes from 21502 to 21530 Old Canal St. were evacuated, and an area 50 feet from the hole was cordonened off.
Officials used a gas meter to check for gas in the storm drains around the cave-in, and readings were normal. Fire officials and the engineer also examined the sink hole and the base of the retention wall. The engineer recommended that no digging or work should be done around the sink hole for now.
Gas company officials were due back in the area Monday morning to decide whether to shut off the gas line.
That section of road is still maintained by developer Venture Properties and was not among a list of Antiquity roads accepted as town streets recently. It has been closed since the road collapsed.
Deputy fire chief Guerry Barbee told town leaders that the developers never responded to phone calls Sunday night. A town officials on the scene Monday at 8am said the developers had not visited the site yet.
April 16, 2013, CorneliusNews.net, “Sinkhole closes road in Antiquity neighborhood”