Published: 14:00, 15 April 2014
Residents say they can’t trust the ground under their feet after a giant hole opened up in a Strood road.
At 19ft deep the sinkhole in Elaine Avenue is big enough to hide a full grown giraffe – or more worrying for drivers and residents – four family cars stacked on top of each other.
The chasm appeared unexpectedly when a white-line lorry fell through the surface of the road and got stuck at 12.30pm on Monday, but its full magnitude wasn’t apparent until the vehicle was pulled free.
“When they lifted the lorry the blokes driving it were quite surprised,” said resident Nicole Xhepa. “The hole goes back a long way, right across the street and under the pavement.
“We’re lucky that no one got hurt. My neighbour could have been driving over it. Where do you stand then?
“Where’s the next one going to open up? We just don’t know."
Now Southern Water workers will be lowered into the pit by crane to repair a damaged pipe, which is thought to have contributed to the collapse.
It is not yet known when the road – which was recently resurfaced – can reopen.
Medway Council and Southern Water are writing to homeowners and carrying out doorstep visits.
At 19ft, the hole is deeper than the recent M2 sinkhole, which was a mere 15ft deep.
Last month a 32-ton lorry got stuck when its wheels fell into a hole on the corner of Khyber Road and Prince Arthur Road, Gillingham, forcing the closure of the road for several hours.
Strood and the surrounding area has a long history of holes opening up unexpectedly in the ground.
In 1967, young mum Jean Thompson died when she fell into a hole that appeared in an alleyway in Frindsbury. Her body was never recovered.
The area’s chalky ground is particularly prone to erosion, causing underground cavities to open up.
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