A Winnipeg man says the city is to blame after he drove his car into a massive sinkhole on Sutherland Avenue Monday morning.

A city spokesperson said a water main break caused the road to wash out. It was reported at 3:30 a.m. Monday, the city said, adding crews put up barricades around it, near Charles Street, right away.

Winnipeg Sinkhole Sutherland Avenue

Norman Garcia said the city failed to put up proper barricades at this sinkhole on Sutherland Avenue Monday morning. His car fell in at about 7: 30 a.m. (Norman Aceron Garcia)


Garcia said this City of Winnipeg truck, shown in the background about 20 metres behind Garcia's car, and a fallen a-frame barricade were the only things between traffic and the sinkhole at about 7:30 a.m. (Norman Garcia)

But Norman Aceron Garcia said his car was swallowed up by the hole several hours later. Garcia said he was travelling eastbound at about 7:30 a.m. on Sutherland Avenue when he noticed a city truck parked and blocking the lane to oncoming traffic.

Garcia switched back into the eastbound lane after passing around the truck and fell into the sinkhole.

"There were no barricades installed surrounding the sinkhole, and I only saw an A-frame lying submerged horizontally," he said.

He said the city didn't put up barricades around the sinkhole until well after 8 a.m. when he was finally towed out. Garcia said his car was damaged and he won't be paying for the tow.

The hole kept expanding throughout the morning. Pieces of the asphalt edge continued to drop in as the water eroded the base away.

In the early afternoon, the city widened the barricaded area and issued a press release saying Sutherland is closed between Charles and Schultz.

Crews are now working to repair the break but it's a tricky fix because of underground utilities, including a high-voltage power line, by the water main.

Once the water main work is completed, the road repairs will be made.