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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECM news partner 10 News

Repair is difficult due to proximity to gas line and storm drain

April 17, 2018 (El Cajon) – A sink hole that formed overnight at Johnson Avenue and Vernon Way in El Cajon swallowed up a car, but fortunately emergency responders rescued the driver.

Helix Water District repair crews have begun making repairs and the intersection is now open to traffic on Vernon Way and southbound Johnson Avenue, though northbound Johnson remains closed.

El Cajon Police responded to reports of the water main break shortly before 8:30 p.m. last night.  Officers barricaded the intersection, but while they were on scene, a motorist drove around an emergency vehicle blocking the intersection and onto a weakened roadway above the water main break.

This caused asphalt to give way, creating a sink hole that the car fell into. Fortunately, officers on scene were able to rescue the driver as the vehicle became submerged. The driver and all officers were unharmed, says Monica Zech, spokesperson for the city of El Cajon.

Helix Water District restored service earlier this afternoon to the five businesses impacted by the water main break in this industrial area of El Cajon. Helix crews will work through the night in order to complete repairs, water quality testing, backfilling and repaving sometime tomorrow.

"It is a difficult repair," says Mike Uhrhammer, senior public affairs representative at Helix Water District. 

Helix's water main is 11 feet down, and a high pressure gas line 10 feet underground runs perpendicular to the water main, just a few feet south of the break. In addition, a storm drain four feet below ground runs diagonally over the break.

"We are installing a new section of water main that goes up and over the storm drain to move it away from the gas line," adds Uhrhammer.




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