'Sinkhole street' made whole again

The giant sinkhole (above) which appeared on a five-lane street in the Japanese city of Fukuoka last week has been filled in, and the repaired street reopened to the public yesterday.
The giant sinkhole (above) which appeared on a five-lane street in the Japanese city of Fukuoka last week has been filled in, and the repaired street reopened to the public yesterday. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
The giant sinkhole which appeared on a five-lane street in the Japanese city of Fukuoka last week has been filled in, and the repaired street (above) reopened to the public yesterday.
The giant sinkhole which appeared on a five-lane street in the Japanese city of Fukuoka last week has been filled in, and the repaired street (above) reopened to the public yesterday. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TOKYO • A Japanese city yesterday reopened a busy street that collapsed into a giant sinkhole, with the efforts of workers who toiled around the clock for a week drawing praise on social media.

The gigantic sinkhole, measuring around 30m wide and 15m deep, appeared last week in a bustling business district in the south-western city of Fukuoka, swallowing part of a five-lane street.

The sinkhole, apparently triggered by subway construction in the area, had exposed the support columns of nearby buildings at a traffic intersection.

Workers toiled continuously for a week, dumping huge amounts of wet cement and sand into the gaping hole and fixing electricity, gas and water lines damaged by the incident.

The street reopened at 5am yesterday, Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima said in a statement, exactly a week after the ground began sinking.

"We're very sorry for causing great trouble," Mr Takashima said, noting that a ban on access to surrounding buildings was lifted.

Miraculously, no one was hurt in the accident in Fukuoka, the biggest city on the southern-most main island of Kyushu.

Many on social media expressed amazement at the quick recovery.

"I'm surprised the road reopened in a week!," one Twitter user said. "Impressive. That was fast," said another.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline ''Sinkhole street' made whole again'. Print Edition | Subscribe