MOSCOW, November 27 (Sputnik) — The ground gave way in the center of Moscow late Thursday morning resulting in the formation of a 1.5-2 meter sinkhole, local media reported.
The sinkhole, within sight of the Kremlin and not far from Bolotnaya Square, the site of anti-government protests held a few years ago, was reported at about 11:30 am at the intersection of Balchug and Sadovnicheskaya Naberezhnaya streets. Motorists quickly noticed the hazard, driving around the sinkhole before emergency and traffic police responded to cordon off the area. Investigators have been brought in to investigate the cause of the ground collapse, and workers are standing by to make repairs.
Vesti-Moskva had earlier noted that a further collapse of asphalt surrounding the sinkhole is possible.
No one has been injured in the incident, the city’s traffic police have said.
Business news agency BFM.ru said that the cordoning off of traffic in one direction near the sinkhole had resulted in nearly a kilometer long traffic jam by mid-afternoon.
Automotive-related news site Autonews.ru has explained that the area near where the incident took place has seen long-term building activity around it, and that the builders may be responsible for the collapse. A press statement by Avtodor, Russia’s state road-building and maintenance company, has blamed a local construction company for the incident. City officials investigating the incident have not yet revealed their conclusions.
This is not the first time Moscow’s soft, highly built-up soil has given way to form sinkholes. In August a sinkhole formed on Tverskaya Street near the city center, while in September one was created on a toll road in the city’s southeast. Both incidents occurred without injury, but resulted in severe traffic congestion around the affected areas.