Aug 10, 2007

Record-Breaking Rains Pound on Wayne, N.J.

Car-sized sinkhole opens in municipal parking lot

Wayne, N.J., authorities spotted a fast-developing, car-sized sinkhole in the municipal complex parking lot following a record-breaking rainstorm early Wednesday. Police cameras helped officials catch and address the problem.Storm water pressure made a 30-year-old drainage pipe beneath the parking lot give way, and the pavement collapsed, said Tim Collins, the township's superintendent of roads. The collapse left an 8 x 12-ft hole in the parking lot near the township's library.More than 3 in of rain fell over parts of Passaic County Wednesday morning. According to Bob Ziff of the North Jersey Weather Observers, the storm broke the daily rainfall record for nearby Hawthorne, N.J., set in 1927.Collins said police called him shortly after 8 a.m. to tell him about the hole and that officers could see it getting bigger. A police car responded, and an officer surrounded the hole with cones. "No one was ever in any danger," Collins said, though he described the hole as "big enough to swallow a small car."One entrance to the municipal complex was closed for most of Wednesday, while township crews made repairs. The workers replaced 18 ft of pipe and closed the hole, Collins said, adding that the area is scheduled be repaved today.