Filling of St Albans sinkhole continues as power restored to homes

PUBLISHED: 17:51 05 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:33 06 October 2015

Sinkhole being filled in: Photo courtesy of Shaun Collins/Twitter

Sinkhole being filled in: Photo courtesy of Shaun Collins/Twitter

Shaun Collins/Twitter

The supply of electricity has now been restored to most homes affected by the sinkhole that appeared in a residential street in St Albans last week, but there is still limited sewerage capacity.

The sinkhole in Fontmel Close is filled with concreteThe sinkhole in Fontmel Close is filled with concrete

Also, efforts to fill in the mammoth 20-metre-wide cavity are ‘progressing well’ according to the county council.

The sinkhole opened up in Fontmell Close, a cul de sac in the Bernards Heath area, at about 1.30am last Thursday (1).

It resulted in the evacuation of five households, with 20 people in total, to a reception centre for residents at Batchwood Sports Centre.

Most people are currently staying with family and friends, or have arranged hotel accommodation, including through their insurance companies.

According to an update on the incident provided by St Albans district council, power supplies have been resumed to most homes in Fontmell Close and Bridle Close.

Water services have also been returned to most properties, or will be turned on shortly for individual homes.

However there are no gas or telephone services, and there is limited sewerage capacity - suppliers are working to restore these as soon as possible.

Further utility works will be needed once the repair works on the hole reach a certain point. The district council said it did not know how long people will be affected, “but it could be some time”.

A statement released by Herts county council late yesterday (Monday) says that work to fill the hole, which is about 10 metres deep, resulted in engineers pumping in about 180 cubic metres - 180,000 litres - of foamed concrete by the end of Saturday (3).

There was no work at the closed-off site on Sunday as engineers wanted to leave the concrete to set.

Work resumed on Monday morning and by the time engineers left the sinkhole last night, at 9pm, a further 250 cubic metres of the foamed concrete was poured in.

They returned to Fontmell Close today to continue the filling.

The council’s cabinet member for community support Cllr Richard Thake said: “All agencies are continuing to work together to get residents back to their homes as soon as it is safe to do so.

“Our priority remains to ensure the safety of residents in the area and minimise disruption and to resolve the situation as soon as possible. Teams from a number of agencies worked throughout the weekend and will continue to do so through the coming week.”

A temporary access road via a playing field behind the site was finished yesterday by the district council. This is for site vehicles and emergency access only.

And a private security firm has been watching homes in Fontmell Close and Bridle Close 24 hours a day since Friday night.

Cllr Thake said that while there has been a great deal of interest in the sinkhole, only approved contractors and emergency personnel have access to the site, “so we would encourage people to stay away”.

Visit the district council’s website for more information, or via Twitter @hertscc and @StAlbansCouncil


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