Tuesday, July 13, 2004
It was no earthquake, but rather the sweltering street buckling and tonight there are concerns it could happen again.
After seeing a large crack in the street, crews originally suspected a possible gas leak, but with a little investigation, they soon learned it was something else.
The fire department, police and the gas company and even the city’s public works department were all called to Cardinal and Benjamin late in the afternoon, residents alarmed when they suddenly witnessed the ground rise and crack.
“Some of the curbing blew up and the street raised four to five inches,” says Rob Hughes with the Wichita Fire Department.
“I’ve noticed it buckling for a couple of weeks, the ridge getting higher and higher, and I didn’t think anything about it,” says Paula Carter, a witness.
That is until today. Residents in a two-block area had to be evacuated while workers try to figure out what happened.
“Basically, what we got out here is a lot of underlying moisture in the Earth and a real hot day, and the street buckled,” says maintenance engineer Larry Henry.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. Back in 1980, Wichitans might recall a part of the bypass doing the same thing. Experts say the crack is unusual, because the heat-related breaks typically occur in concrete, as opposed to asphalt.
Because the damage is so extensive, part of the road has been closed. Construction crews are expected to begin repairs tomorrow.