Officials were expecting the ruptured water line that caused a massive sinkhole on Val Vista Drive, just south of Loop 202’s Santan Freeway, to be fixed by today. But it could be several days to repair the roadway.
“I think it’s going to be a couple of days before the (northbound) lanes are open,” Gilbert spokesman Greg Svelund said.
The 25-foot-wide hole started appearing around 3:15 a.m. Sunday after a 12-inch water line located 10 feet underground burst, allowing 11,000 gallons of water per minute to wash away underlying soil for 90 minutes.
“Pop out your calculator, and that’s a million gallons of water,” Svelund said.
The road is closed to northbound traffic. Southbound lanes are open, but it’s slow going through the intersection.
Town officials are encouraging drivers to use SanTan Village Parkway/Greenfield Road or Gilbert Road to access the freeway.
Val Vista Drive is a major thoroughfare for south Gilbert residents using Loop 202.
“It is probably our most traveled north-south corridor we have right now, with the way the freeway came in,” Svelund said.
Officials will be investigating what caused the break, but initial reports suggest there was a problem with the how the line was installed.
The line ran off the town’s 16-inch water main to feed developments going in around the intersection. The line was installed about 18 months ago, but most recently there was a commercial development to the west that connected to that line.
“We’re still looking if there’s any connection between those two events, because the line has been in place for some time,” Svelund said.
The hole is adjacent to Mercy Gilbert Medical Center.
“We’re just really not affected at all,” hospital spokeswoman Julie Graham said. “It’s just sort of a nonissue.”
For now, the best way to access the hospital is from Pecos Road, by turning south on Mercy Road.
Officials won’t know until later this week how much the sinkhole will end up costing taxpayers.
“It will be considerable,” Svelund said. “Just asphalt alone is going to be expensive, not to mention the excavation, the dirt compacting and the rebuilding of the road.”