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Hole that swallowed van continues to grow in Northeast KC, could signal lurking problems elsewhere

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The hole at Morrell and Bales in the Northeast part of Kansas City swallowed a van on Saturday. As of Monday, it's still growing.

The hole is currently more than 18-feet deep, 7-feet wide, and 11-feet long. Crews with the Kansas City Water Department have been trying to get to the main sewer line for the home since Friday. It should be fixed by Wednesday or Thursday.

This started when the homeowners noticed a problem with their sewer line. They looked into it, they realized the problem was at the main line that serves everyone in the area in the alley.

Crews began digging on Friday and covered the hole with plywood for the weekend.

Signs, according to residents and neighbors, were not standing at the plywood on Saturday. Which is how the van ended up inside the hole. The driver - who was visiting from Topeka - didn't realize there was anything other than a mud puddle; he certainly didn't expect that, or the broken leg he got as a result.

A crane came out Sunday to pull out the Chrysler Van.

The Kansas CIty Water Department says it uses plywood to cover holes in areas that don't get much traffic - like alleyways. In this case, low-hanging power lines also meant the equipment used to install steel plates - which are typically installed on high traffic areas, like roads - also prevented the installation of the steel plates.

Since the accident, steel plates were pushed down the alley.

The spokesperson for the department says no one in recent memory can remember ever having a vehicle fall into one of their holes.

This occurred in the Northeast part of Kansas City. It is one of the older parts of town, and that means the sewer pipes are also old. Some are 100 years old, and they all have to be replaced as they fail.

So when you think about your water bills - realize that money is going to fix holes around the city. And with 2,800 miles of pipe, there are bound to be more problems in need of repair. Which means, there will be more holes.