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Local Directory for Ottawa, ON


My street ate a van

GC decided to take me out for dinner last night because I was a bit frazzled from my day. But we only made it part way down the street when we spotted something that demanded our attention. A van, on the side of the road, perched at a peculiar angle, looking like its axle broke or its wheel fell off or something

We always stop for weird things: It’s what we do. Sometimes things aren’t as weird as they appear, though. Like a couple months ago we saw a van with its door open and a man and woman standing beside it, and a big dog lying between them on the ground. We didn’t know if the dog was dead or merely injured, but it looked like they were discussing how to get him into the van to get him to the vet. We circled the block and came back to offer our assistance, but then the dog stood up and yawned, and we realized he had just been lying down because he was bored with their conversation.

Anyway, last night’s van actually was worth stopping for. It turned out that it had fallen through the road. No kidding. The driver had been about to back it into his driveway when suddenly the road opened up and his front left wheel was swallowed by the road’s gaping maw.

We stood with the family for a bit, chatting and taking pictures, while everybody who passed by peered into the hole and said things like “Ain’t that the damnedest thing.”

Eventually a City crew arrived but they said they were just there to put warning pilons up. They told the owner of the van that he would have to call a tow truck to get his van out of the hole. They said it would be a tricky towing job and they didn’t want to risk it.

I asked them what would cause such a thing to happen. They said it looked like everything had washed away under the asphalt. The hole was right near a sewer drain, and the heavy rainfall from last week probably washed away that section of road stuff (sorry, I don’t know the technical term), leaving just the crust of the road over gaping hollowness.

“It happens,” shrugged one road guy. “Not very often, but it happens.”

“But it’s kind of a drag when a car falls through,” the other road guy added.

The moral of the story: Never park close to a sewer drain after a torrential downpour.

5 comments to My street ate a van

  • EK

    The same road collapse thing happened on a street in my neighbourhood! So strange-looking.

  • that’s not the moral of the story.
    the moral of the story is: get your act together as a community and spot all these flaws, then take it to your councilors meeting and demand your taxes be used for services that can be at least guaranteed for a few years – like the Europeans do.

    the state of our roads is laughable – with the same construction jobs happening every two years.
    that’s just day time robbery , and we all know it :)

    I hope the minivan guy has a CAA membership or somesuch.

  • Deb

    I would hope that the city would pay for the tow truck charge as well as the repairs

  • Well, ain’t that the darnedest thing…

    Luckily this driver had protected his van’s front bumper from getting damaged by just this sort of thing with a covering of red Tuck Tape.

    – RG>

  • TechWood

    Perhaps you should document this along with your front steps and ask them to spend their time inspecting their streets rather than peoples front steps. What’s keeping the sidewalk from eating up people?