Mar 6, 2017
It was a nightmare for Stephanie Scott. On the evening of February 17, the street under her SUV collapsed, and the car tipped over and fell 20 feet into a giant sinkhole. The 48-year-old woman managed to open the door and climb on top of the overturned car. But she was still 10 feet below street level and unable to get out of the hole.
Scott said she thought she was going to die; and it wasn’t necessarily an exaggeration. Shortly after she was rescued by firefighters, another car, a minivan that had stopped on the edge of the sinkhole, fell onto Scott’s car, as more of the road caved in.
City officials called the sinkhole in the Studio City area of Los Angeles “an accident,” and blamed it on a “combination of” heavy rain and sewer failure.
City engineers were more precise, though. They said the top of the concrete sewer pipe, which is 89 years old, had eroded away, as aging concrete tends to do. So the soil and asphalt above the pipe collapsed.
Two days later, as crews were working on repairing the sewer, city engineer Gary Lee Moore was still worried. “The last thing we want is to have that area collapse,” he said, “and then sewage ... could then back up and come out on the street” – which would pose a genuine health hazard for thousands of residents.
No, the collapse of this sewer pipe was no accident. City officials are only trying to cover the fact that they have been neglecting the maintenance of L.A.’s aging infrastructure – making it more and more prone to failure, and turning it into a ticking time bomb threatening the whole population.