Car falls into sinkhole in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 17:01 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:27 15 March 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
A car has fallen into a sinkhole on Rouen Road, Norwich that appeared after an apparent burst water pipe.
The road has been closed in both directions by police, who were contacted just after 9.50am this morning. They have contacted Anglian Water and Norwich City Council.
No one was hurt but the driver described himself as feeling shaken by the incident.
Jamie Clare, 45, and Sarah Larter, 39, of Ranworth Road were parking outside Norwich Practices Health Centre when the hole opened up without warning, trapping their Citroën Picasso in the road.
Mr Clare said: “I just heard this awful clunk, and I thought I’d hit something, but I hadn’t.”
The couple were especially distressed by this because they had been planning on travelling to their wedding next week at Norwich Castle in the car.
John Ward, 42, from Norwich, first noticed the water leak at the site of the current hole before the snow came in, and contacted Anglian Water last week.
Mr Ward, of Paradise Place, said the water board told him it had been reported a week previous to that.
He said: “You can clearly see where the water pipe is going across the road and has burst.”
An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “We received reports of a leaking water pipe on Rouen Road, Norwich at the end of last week.
“Our engineers inspected the damaged pipe the following day and arranged for a repair to be made today (Wednesday) so our team could access to the nearby car park.
“Unfortunately, the surface of the road has since deteriorated. Our teams will be on site this afternoon to make the necessary repairs and get things back to normal as quickly as possible. The road will be reopened by the end of this week.
“We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes and would like to thank local businesses and road users for their patience while we make these vital repairs.”
Traffic cones to seal off the car were initially provided by BT workmen who happened to have been working nearby and came to investigate what had happened.
The hole has attracted attention from passers by, who have been taking photographs and videos since the incident began.
A Norwich City Council spokesperson said: “We and Anglian Water are aware and will be out shortly to investigate and barrier off (replace those put in place by the police and other utility company) the area, identify and manage any diversions.”
The owners of the car have been instructed by the police not to enter the car as the ground could be unstable and dangerous.
Anglian Water workers have spent the afternoon drilling into the road to main the source of the leak, a supply pipe to Rouen House.
The cost of the works remains unclear at the present, although an unofficial source estimated a few thousands.
The pipe should be repaired by the end of the day, however the sinkhole may see the road closed until at least the weekend.
The car was removed from the hole at around 3.45pm.
Commuters may face large tailbacks in the surrounding area, as Rouen Road occupies a busy city centre position.
The council recommended diversion route from Cattle Market Street is as follows:
Round Golden Ball Street and left on to Ber Street until you reach the ring road then along Brazengate.
The diversion from this side ends once on King Street.
From the King Street end the diversion is up Carrow Road, onto Koblenz, Prince of Wales Road, Rose Lane and on to Cattle Market Street.