Extreme cold blamed for water main break, sinkhole in Bern

'There was no ground underneath'

BERN TWP., Pa. - Homeowners along Allison Road in Bern Township woke up to quite a shock Thursday as the road opened up and gave way to a 30-foot sinkhole.

"This is all kind of a surprise. I actually had no idea about it," said homeowner Jessica Price, who stood on her front yard with her daughter, staring at the site.

Reading Area Water Authority crews needed to make repairs to a broken water main and sinkhole in the unit block of Allison Road.

"We were called out for no water this morning at 1 Allison Road and 3 Allison Road," said Tony Reynolds, a distribution superintendent for RAWA.

Upon first arriving on scene, crews tested the ground in search of the problem. They found the location of the break and attempted to break ground.

"As soon as we broke ground, there was no ground underneath. It was just a sinkhole," Reynolds said.

Crews cut water service to six homes and needed to make way for a new pipe.

"We will replace an 18-foot section of six-inch pipe," Reynolds said.

Drinking water was provided to affected residents, and a geologist was brought in to assess any additional impacted areas in the neighborhood.

"To evaluate the trench to see exactly where the water went, if there were other sinkholes or throats beneath the road," said Reynolds

As for the blast of bitter cold air, Jessica Price and her family were preparing and hunkering down.

"I've heard it's going to be bad with snow, and we'll just do what we do," she said. "Have a fireplace and try to stay warm."

According to RAWA, water was expected to be restored to residents by Thursday evening. The geologist will return to the scene again on Friday.

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