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Sinkhole forces road closure

A large sinkhole appeared in the middle of Prince Charles Drive amid heavy flooding from a major leak of a Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) pipe around 2 a.m. on Sunday.

The corporation said it began to receive alarms on its system along with reports from the public around 1 a.m. about the flooding.

As a result, the WSC said it secured the roadway and shut down the supply along Prince Charles Drive to prevent any further flooding.

This resulted in low water pressure and no pressure to customers in eastern New Providence.

The sinkhole developed in the area between Blanco Chemicals Ltd. and Popeye’s restaurant.

The hole’s width spanned across nearly two lanes of the road.

Rose Barr-Moss, who lives steps away from where it appeared, said she saw two vehicles fall into it early Sunday morning.

“The wrecker had to pull out one and the next van,” she told The Nassau Guardian.

“I don’t know what happened to that because I [left. I left] them out there and I [went] to my bed.”

Asked if she saw the incident happen, she replied, “Yeah, it was like a little brown [Nissan] Cube. The [guy] was telling him, ‘Don’t come, don’t come.’

“And he still comes and end up dropping in the hole. That was about something to 3 a.m.”

Parts of the road were flooded when The Guardian visited the scene around 10 a.m.

Red cones — indicating the closure of the road — were erected at the traffic light at Prince Charles Drive and Fox Hill Road, and at the traffic light at Prince Charles Drive and College Garden Road.

Some residents and businesses in the area expressed frustration with the road closure.

Mitchell Miller, who has lived off Prince Charles Drive for two years, said the sinkhole and road closure were an inconvenience.

“I have to walk because of the bus service,” Miller said.

“I know there [isn’t any] now. I have to walk to Elizabeth Estates to go by my family’s house.”

Charles Richards, manager of Fresh Cuts Barbershop, said the establishment was “very affected” because some customers were not aware of alternate routes to get to the barbershop, which is located on Prince Charles Drive opposite Doris Johnson Senior High School.

“For our business right now, you know on Sundays we always have a lot of people; because of that nobody knows where to turn,” Richards said.

“So, I think we have a little problem with it still.”

Ray Strachan, an elder at Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church on Prince Charles Drive, said the closure led to a smaller attendance than usual at the church’s prayer meeting at 6 a.m.

He said some churchgoers had “difficulties” making it to the location.

Asked if he believed it was a result of the sinkhole, Strachan said, “I assume so because usually we have a good number on Sunday morning. But everybody wasn’t able to come and I believe it’s due to the fact that they probably heard about the sinkhole or what’s going on in Prince Charles and they probably weren’t able to come. I believe that contributes towards them not attending like they usually do on Sunday morning.”

Water supply

Linda Moss, who has lived in the area for more than a decade, said her water supply had been off since roughly 1:30 a.m.

“The hole is why the water is off,” she said.

“That’s bad because you can’t even bathe or use your bathroom, you know. That’s bad.”

Water and Sewerage said repair teams mobilized shortly after shutting off the supply and commenced their excavation works.

The failure was the result of a longitude crack/split along a length (20 feet) of installed 24-inch PVC transmission main, the corporation said.

Last night, it said teams completed their repairs and commenced the restoration of water supply around 4 p.m.

Customers were advised it would take a few hours for normal water pressure to be fully restored to all areas including extreme ends of the system and elevated locations.

Clean up and temporary road repairs were carried out and the road was reopened last night, however, authorities were advising motorists to “exercise extreme caution” as the road was not yet paved with asphalt.

The upgrade of Prince Charles Drive and the water system was a part of the controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project under the Ingraham administration.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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