Photos & Story by Scott Schaefer
UPDATE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2016: The City of Burien said Wednesday (April 20) that the cause of the sinkhole on SW 136th – which resulted in the road being closed down – has been identified as “sewer infrastructure problems.”
“Southwest Suburban Sewer District has assumed responsibility for repairs and reconstruction of the road,” the city announced. “The Sewer District crew will be on site early Thursday morning to begin repairs.”
Its goal is to reopen the closed portion of SW 136th Street between 1st Ave South and 1st Ave SW by the end of the week.
Since Wednesday morning (April 20), City of Burien crews have been on site to investigate the sinkhole and surrounding area for potential causes. The crews are removing portions of the street surface in order to view the street bed and infrastructure beneath. At this point, the cause has not yet been identified, and the road remains closed to traffic. Once the cause is identified, repairs can begin. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the City expects the street to reopen to traffic within one to two weeks, if not sooner.
A sinkhole has developed on SW 136th Street between 1st Ave South and 1st Ave SW (map below) in Burien, closing the road to traffic as of Tuesday, April 19, through Wednesday, April 20.
While we were on scene Tuesday afternoon, the road was closed, and cones and tape were being used to cordon off the sinkhole, which measured between 4-6 feet in diameter.
A second, much smaller hole was observed, and was partially covered by its own cone (see two lower photos above).
No evidence of dips or other signs of growth were visible, although it appeared that some digging had been done in a nearby alley.
A nearby resident said the sinkhole first appeared last Saturday, and has remained “around the same size” ever since. Initially, she said that cones were placed around the hole, but that the city came out and closed the entire area Tuesday.
Another passerby, when asked if he knew what caused it, shrugged his shoulders and said:
“Who knows man…the earth doesn’t always tell us what’s going on…”
The City did not release any theories on what might be causing the sinkhole, but said that closure updates will be provided as possible.
“Please consider alternative routes,” the city added.
Sewer issues led to the formation of the sinkhole at SW 136th St: SW Suburban Sewer District to begin repairs 4/21. https://t.co/LvRzLbqX0d
â€” City of Burien, WA (@Burien) April 20, 2016