Repairs expected to continue through Friday after sinkhole opens downtown

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Crews working to fix a sinkhole at a busy downtown intersection say it likely won't be fixed until Saturday.

IMPD says the sinkhole developed at Ohio and Pennsylvania Wedesday. It's 17 feet across, 10.5 feet deep, and 14 feet long. The hole was caused by a sewer line that failed, according to Citizens Energy.

The sewer line is made of brick and is about 15 feet underground. Officials estimated it's more than 100 years old. In order to repair it, a 20x20 hole will have to be dug.

“Because they’re brick sewer lines, we know that they’re more than 100 years old. There’s a lot of old sewer lines in downtown Indianapolis," Citizens Energy Group spokesperson Dan Considine said.

Southbound traffic on Pennsylvania is restricted and being diverted eastbound to New York Street until it's repaired. Eastbound traffic on Ohio Street is being diverted onto Meridian. Westbound traffic on Ohio Street is being diverted to northbound Delaware Street. Anyone who works or parks at the Salesforce Tower will need to use the Market Street entrance.

Commuters on Thursday complained that the detours added significant time to their daily commute.

"It tacked probably 25 minutes onto my commute because I come from the north side . I usually shoot right down penn (Pennsylvania)but then I had to come off the side and try to go up market, and I think everybody else had the same idea," Mallory Doyle said.

IndyStar Cartoonist Gary Varvel used his talent to illustrate the need for repairs to Indy's streets by putting the familiar "Indy" signature often used for photos at tourist spots inside a sinkhole with police tape around it.


Illustration by Gary Varvel via our partners at the IndyStar.

Dan Considine says since 2011, Citizens Energy Group has spent roughly $1 billion repairing and replacing aging infrastructure. But adds that there are thousands of miles of sewer. Some of which date back to the 1800's.

"And its going to take a long time to update some of this infrastructure," he said.

Considine added that Citizens does plan on replacing the line beneath Pennsylvania and Ohio st. However their goal now is to simply repair the portion of the line that failed.

“We’re hoping we’ll have it repaired tomorrow, but until we get down in there we’re not really sure when tomorrow or if it could be longer," he said.