Sinkhole Opens In Downtown, Swallows Part Of Port Authority Bus During Rush Hour

Oct 28, 2019

A city bus is currently stuck in a sinkhole in downtown Pittsburgh, after the pavement collapsed under it during rush hour.

*This story was last updated at 5:13 p.m. and will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. 

It happened around 8 a.m. Monday on 10th Street at Penn Ave., near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Penn Avenue between 9th and 11th streets is currently closed. Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said the sinkhole is roughly 20 feet deep, and 75 to 100 feet across.

Authorities estimate it could be as late as midnight before the 14-ton bus will be removed, as it may take a few hours to erect the crane to pull it out. 

Additionally, Hissrich said the bus is on top of three underground power lines and several gas lines. Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority also said a service line runs through that spot. Hissrich said water was flowing into the sinkhole for about an hour before it was shut off. 

He wasn’t able to confirm if a break in the water line caused the sinkhole, and would not discuss potential causes of the sink hole, saying the city is focused on keeping people safe for now. 

Comcast and Verizon say if fiber optic cables in the hole are cut, communications throughout the tri-state area could be affected. 

Officials predict that 10th Street will be closed for 1-2 weeks to allow for repairs to damaged or vulnerable fiber optic, water and electrical lines. 

The Port Authority of Allegheny County said the only passenger on the bus was a 56-year-old woman. She went to Allegheny General Hospital complaining of a potential back injury, but has been released. 

The agency tweeted that the bus was at a red light when the street gave way and the rear half plunged into the hole.

Photos from the scene show the front of the bus pitched into the air and the front wheels of a car that was behind it dangling over the sinkhole's edge. The sinkhole also has a geometric shape, forming a nearly perfect rectangle. Adam Brandolph, spokesman for the Port Authority, said he couldn’t say why it was shaped that way.

One building along Penn Avenue, which housed a daycare, was evacuated following the street collapse. Approximately 10 children were moved to the nearby Westin Hotel.

An-Li Herring, Kathleen J. Davis, Sarah Kovash and the Associated Press contributed to this report.