20ft sinkhole swallows up Walsall street after sewer collapses

Britain’s biggest pothole: Huge 20ft wide sinkhole swallows up part of busy street after sewer collapse

  • The gaping void nearly swallowed motorists on Stafford St, in Walsall, West Mids.
  • Local business owners ran out into the street to stop cars falling into the hole 
  • Labour councillor Matt Ward said: ‘I didn’t expect as much to collapse, it’s like a huge crater. It looks like a meteor out of space has hit it’

A huge 20ft-wide sinkhole swallowed up part of a busy street in the West Midlands on Thursday after the sewer beneath it collapsed. 

Drivers were forced to swerve around the 20ft-wide hole which opened up when a sewer collapsed on Stafford Street, in Walsall, West Midlands., on Thursday.

Witnesses said how people from nearby businesses ran out into the street to stop vehicles from being swallowed up.

Labour councillor Matt Ward said: ‘It’s absolutely huge. At about quarter to ten I drove down the road and the car went down a dip, it had bellowed in on itself.

‘It was like a roller coaster, so I contacted the council. The cars were going down and then up as they went over it.

‘I didn’t expect as much to collapse, it’s like a huge crater. It looks like a meteor out of space has hit it. 

A huge sink hole cracked a road open in Walsall, West Midlands on Thursday, almost swallowing up several cars

Motorists narrowly avoided the massive void on Thursday, which a Labour Councillor said had left the street looking like a ‘meteor from outer space’ had crash landed in Walsall

Pictured: A man checks out the depth of the massive sinkhole on a street in Walsall, West Midlands, on Thursday 

‘Thankfully no one has been injured, but if it had happened at a time when the roads were busier there’s no doubt a car would have gone into it.’

Tyre company boss Sean Dickenson told how he had to run into the road to stop a Transit Van after noticing the ground sinking shortly before it crumbled away.

He said: ‘We opened up on Monday and noticed there was a dip in the road. The cars were bouncing.

‘Day by day it’s been getting worse then this morning we were sitting here and could see the road sinking. 

‘Then the council came and put some signs up saying slow down.

‘We were watching the road dip and all of a sudden a Transit van drown down and I had to run and stop it before the road caved in. He had to swerve on the pavement.’

Local resident Peter Andrews, 29, who lives in the town centre, said it was a miracle nobody was seriously hurt.

He added: ‘That is usually a busy stretch of road and a couple of cars had near-misses.

Pictured: Roadworkers stop traffic on the main road in Walsall on Thursday, in order to fill in the gaping void in the street

‘I’m surprised the council or police didn’t close the road earlier as you could see it buckling for a couple of days.

‘It’s a miracle nobody was injured or killed as its a main route in and out of the town which is used by a lot of vehicles.

‘I can’t believe such a massive piece of road can just crumble away like that, it’s pretty frightening.’

The road remains closed as teams from Severn Trent Water assess the damage and work out a repair plan, which is expected to take at least four weeks to complete.

A company spokesperson said: ‘Our teams have confirmed the issue was caused by a collapsed sewer under the road, which has now been closed to keep our teams and drivers safe.

‘We’re out again this morning assessing the extent of the damage and working out how best to repair both the sewer and the road.

Undated handout photo of a 20ft-wide sinkhole which opened up in the middle of a road in Walsall, West Midlands, on Thursday

‘At this early stage, it looks like it’s going to be a very complicated repair that’ll take at least four weeks to complete.

‘We’d like to apologise to everyone who’s been affected by the closure and assure them we’ll be working seven days a week once we’ve got a repair plan in place to get everything back to normal as quickly as possible.’

A Walsall Council spokesman added: ‘Our Highways Team are attending to a void that has opened up on Stafford Street in Walsall.

‘The large hole in the carriageway is believed to have been caused by a collapsed sewer.

‘The road is being closed to ensure the safety of the travelling public and Severn Trent are expected to be on site later today.

‘Traffic is being diverted via Leamore Lane, Green Lane and Court Way and turnings from the Ring Road onto Stafford Street will be closed to northbound traffic.

‘We would ask that drivers also avoid Hospital Street to prevent congestion and unnecessary delays to their journey.’

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