Orinda Sinkhole Causes Major Suburban Gridlock

ORINDA (KPIX) — Another growing sinkhole has opened up in Contra Costa County with a new crater in Orinda rupturing sewer lines and creating gridlock for drivers.

It may look like a small street, but Miner Road is a major thoroughfare in Orinda, with a few thousand cars using it every day.

“It’s frightening.  Cause I’ve never seen one in this area nearly that big,” said one neighbor.

The large sinkhole measures roughly 25 feet wide, 15 feet long and 20 feet deep.

“It’s pretty impressive,” said Barry Thompson Jr. with Cowan and Thompson Construction. “You don’t see it very often.”

The sinkhole opened up on a small bridge on Miner Road Wednesday morning.

It is the second major storm-related road closure to hit Contra Costa County since the arrival of the major storms that have hit the Bay Area since the last weekend. An entire section of Alhambra Valley Road near Pinole was washed out by a swollen creek Tuesday night.

Firefighters responding to another call discovered what started out was a small hole, but the pavement quickly gave way.

“I saw the fire engine jerk to a stop. They slammed on the brakes just before they went on the bridge,” said Jana Rains, who lives next to sinkhole. “Stopped all the traffic on the other side. On the other side were two school buses.”

The sinkhole broke two sewer lines. Contractors are trying to stabilize a water main that runs along the street before they can start the repair.

Miner Road is one of the five major roads in Orinda, said Orinda Public Works Inspector Tod Fierner. The traffic impact is major.

One elementary school and two Orinda neighborhoods use the road to get in and out. Now there are detour signs all over the place.

“It’s a mile to the center of the town,” said neighbor Connie Delaveaga-Stoops. “Now’s it’s closer to five or six miles.”

The sinkhole is causing a major big inconveniences for the school and neighbors.

The city says about 3,000 families live past the sinkhole. They hope to reopen Miner Road at the earliest in three weeks.

Neighbor Rains was less optimistic.

“I’ll be surprised if it’s only three weeks,” she said.

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