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Hours after being featured in News 5 report, repair work begins on broken water pipe, sinkhole

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Posted at 4:27 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 19:21:21-05

CLEVELAND — The ongoing leaking water pipe underneath a street that was profiled in a News 5 report Thursday evening was the target of a major repair effort that began early Friday morning. Neighbors were concerned that the burst pipe and nearby sinkhole posed a safety hazard.

On West 39 Street, just south of Denison, a pipe connecting the water main and a nearby home’s water service line apparently ruptured, causing steady stream of water to rise through the red-bricked street above. Immediately after the leak was reported, crews responded to the area during the week of Christmas and installed traffic cones and caution tape. Neighbors began getting frustrated as days passed without repairs being made.

RELATED: Leaking water pipe, sinkhole leaves neighbors concerned, frustrated

“They came out and assessed it, I’m assuming,” said neighbor Jackie Brooks. “They put the cone there, put another cone there and never came back.”

At 7 a.m. on Friday, Brooks received a welcome wake-up call: crews from Cleveland Water and its hired contractor began rolling down the street, dropping off the heavy equipment needed to make repairs.

“I heard the trucks and knew exactly what it was. I didn’t even have to look out. They showed up and they’ve been working on it ever since,” Brooks said. “The water is turned off for now. It’s been off for a couple of hours but I can deal with that for it getting fixed.”

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Repair crews cut a large hole in the middle of the street that was at least five feet deep. In the frigid mud and muck, crews worked to repair the connecting pipe as well as fill in a nearby sinkhole.

When the pipe first broke, it appears to have caused a significant sinkhole to form near John Schied’s water meter in the city-owned tree lawn. He told News 5 on Thursday that he was taking his trash cans to the curb when the ground suddenly gave way underneath him.

“I stepped on it with one leg. I went straight in [the ground] and I didn’t touch anything. There was no ground underneath me,” Schied said. “I was in a pit of water and I just put my arms out and come back out of it. I stepped on it and I went straight in.”

When asked how far down he went, Schied said he didn’t know; his feet hadn’t touched the bottom yet.

Prior to Thursday’s story being featured on Thursday’s newscasts, News 5 reached out to Cleveland Water. A spokesperson said the department was aware of the leak and that a repair order had been issued and elevated on the internal systems. However, the spokesperson did not have a timeline on when repairs would occur.

Neighbors didn’t have to wait long.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes well,” Brooks said. “Hopefully it will get repaired today and life will go on.”

Watch Jordan's original reporting in the video player below:

Leaking water pipe, sinkhole leaves neighbors concerned, frustrated