Repairs to the large sinkhole on Highway 174 will take weeks, not days or hours, to repair, as the replacement pipe is currently being manufactured in Toronto.

Alternate routes for commuters travelling eastbound are:

  • 174 to Montreal to St. Joseph.
  • 174 to Blair to Innes.
  • Ogilvie to Montreal to St. Joseph.
  • Rockcliffe Parkway to St. Joseph.
  • Blackburn Hamlet By-pass to Innes or Navan.
  • Walkley to Ramsayville to Ridge to Anderson to Renaud.
  • Russell to Milton to Navan to Tenth Line.

Crews will now have to excavate and replace the entire section of a 50-year-old storm drain pipe under the eastbound lanes of Highway 174. 

City officials said ordering the pipe from Toronto and having it built from scratch is the best solution. The delivery will take place next week sometime, and it could take up to another week to install the pipe.

On Tuesday motorist Juan Pedro Unger drove his car into the sinkhole but managed to climb out of his car to safety. The car remains 20 metres down an underground storm drain pipe flowing towards the Ottawa River, and is still sinking.

Infrastructure manager Alain Gonthier told the transportation committee the sewer pipe that collapsed was inspected just last summer.

"At that point the conditions showed that the pipe was in need of renewal, but did not show signs of imminent failure," said Gonthier.

In what some viewed as an incredible coincidence, the contractor hired for the $1.5-million renewal project started work Tuesday morning. Gonthier said workers spent the day clearing boulders from the pipe. The pipe collapsed after the workers had gone home for the day.

"At this point we have no indication to suggest that the work that was done by the contractor yesterday contributed or led to the failure. We're really talking about a coincidence," said Gonthier. 

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This sinkhole swallowed Juan Pedro's four-door sedan as he drove home during rush hour Tuesday in east Ottawa. (Photo courtesy of Ottawa Fire Services)

Some councillors seemed less than satisfied.

"It does kind of make you think if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere," said councillor Diane Deans.

The city inspected the westbound lanes of the 174 near the sinkhole, and said the newer pipe under those are safe.

The eastbound lanes of Highway 174 remain closed between the Blair Road and Jeanne d'Arc exits.

The city said east end commuters should take advantage of any flexibility in their schedules to plan their commute outside of peak hours.

Drivers heading eastbound on Highway 174 were using the shoulder as another lane in their efforts to quicken the pace of the afternoon commute home.