Video inspections of two culverts under Highway 174, singled out for emergency repair, show they were in far better shape than the sewer pipe that collapsed last September, swallowing a car.


This sinkhole swallowed Juan Pedro's four-door sedan as he was driving in east Ottawa in September. (Photo courtesy of Ottawa Fire Services)

The two culverts underneath Hwy. 174 — one just west of the Montreal Road exit and one just west of Orleans Boulevard  — got special mention in the fall in a memo from city manager Kent Kirkpatrick to mayor Jim Watson and city council three weeks after the sinkhole formed on the east end highway near the Jeanne d'Arc off-ramp.

Kirkpatrick said based on a review, the two culverts were not in danger of imminent failure but had been identified for "immediate relining."

There were concerns the pipes might be in worse condition than the city let on since the doomed culvert near the Jeanne d'Arc off-ramp had been similarly assessed in 2011 as in need of repair, but not an immediate danger.

It collapsed on Sept. 4, 2012, creating a sinkhole that swallowed a car driven by Ottawa resident Juan Unger. Unger managed to climb out with the help of two witnesses.

Video shows less damage in culverts

An independent review later found the 2011 video inspection of the failed pipe raised enough concern a visual and physical inspection should have been conducted.

Video inspections from July 2012 obtained by CBC Ottawa through an access to information request, show the two other culverts are in better shape. While there is some corrosion — and holes in the steel at the entrance to the tunnel near Montreal Road — there is nothing like the severe damage evident on the video of the pipe that collapsed.

Though the damage did not appear to be as severe, the city has rushed to fix the two culverts.

Work to reline the culvert near Orleans Boulevard is now complete, while repairs on the culvert near the Montreal Road exit begin this week.