Repairs begin on Whitefish Bay sinkhole after emergency declaration

NOW: Repairs begin on Whitefish Bay sinkhole after emergency declaration

WHITEFISH BAY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- An emergency declaration in Whitefish Bay has crews working as long as necessary on phase one of a sinkhole repair.

"Our village has seven stormwater basins. One of the seven, right here behind me, did fail with that main outlet going out to the Lake Michigan corridor," Matthew Collins said.

Collins is the Director of the Whitefish Bay Dept. of Public Works. He tells CBS 58 that on Tuesday, the village approved an emergency declaration to allow his department to get to work as soon as possible.

"That gives us the authority with public works to expedite and make sure we get this repair done as fast as humanly possible," Collins explained. "Right now, it's considered an emergency repair, and then we'll be focused on the long-term, phase two to actually repair the collapsed storm base and pipe."

On Wednesday, June 12, crews began work on the sinkhole to put in a temporary pipe to allow stormwater to flow.

"It's a stop-gap measure in order for us to at least get some drainage out to Lake Michigan from the storm sewer basin," Collins said.

As the area is an active construction site, residents who visit daily, like Nathalie Gatto, have had to change their daily route through the park.

"We come down here – as long as it's not pouring rain – almost every day," Gatto said. "Just the fact that all of a sudden the ground opens up and swallows whatever is above it. Luckily no one was hurt or injured."

For one 10-year-old who visits the park, she hopes that the area can be open soon for public use.

"I really hope they fix it really soon so we can come down here without worrying about all the construction stuff," Juliet said.

While they are working to get the sinkhole filled as quickly as possible, Collins said it is hard to say when the park will be fully open.

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