New York

Car Swallowed by Sinkhole After NJ Water Main Break

A water main burst in Hoboken on Monday, turning an intersection into a pond and creating a large sinkhole that swallowed a car. 

A 12-inch pipe near First and Clinton streets burst at about 6 a.m., authorities said. Water from the main flooded one block and caused a sinkhole that which engulfed a parked car.

Utility workers spent most of the morning getting the car out of the sinkhole. Once the car was removed, they began trying to repair the broken main.

"I went to get breakfast and on the way back we couldn't see the car so for a little bit we thought they towed it away," said car owner Phil Snyder. " As we got closer we could see the rear end of the car sticking out of the ground."

He said he was regretting parking where he did, just outside his girlfriend's apartment. 

"It was a little bit of panic," he said. "We were laughing and freaking out at the same time."

Workers from Suez Water were on the scene.

Residents could experience low or no water pressure, authorities said. Suez has issued a precautionary boil water advisory for people living on the block of 1st Street between Willow Avenue and Clinton Street. The advisory is contained to just that block. 

First Street was closed between Willow Avenue and Grand Street while crews worked.

The water main that broke Monday was blocks from a pipe that burst last year and left thousands of residents without water over Thanksgiving weekend

"It's pretty ridiculous, feels like it happens every couple of weeks," said Erica Gaeta of Hoboken. 

Main breaks have been a consistent problem in the city, and Suez Water has said that residents should expect them to continue at an average of two per month until the city replaces the 41 miles of aging infrastructure, including some pipes that are more than 100 years old. 

The progress has been slow. 

"There's obviously major infrastructure problems, no funding," said resident Eric Lampi. 

The city's current agreement with Suez Water was made in 1994 under a previous administration, and only allows for about $350,000 a year in repairs. That leaves little left over for infrastructure improvements. 

There's eight years left on the contact, and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in a statement Monday, "We have hired financial and engineering experts to evaluate the existing contract and infrastructure and are looking into options to either renegotiate the existing contract or bid out a new contract." 

In the meantime, Suez says crews will work diligently to make repairs. 

"We have to look at the infrastructure, we have to work together and work accordingly," said Treva Spencer. 

Suez told NBC 4 New York in November that $1 million would help make a dent. 

Contact Us