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Excavator pulled out by 2 more after rain swallows it into its’ own hole in east El Paso


EL PASO, Texas -- Residents in one east-side El Paso neighborhood can now drive out of their homes after torrential rains left them boxed in with a partially destroyed street.

An El Paso Water utility project along Sam Snead Drive was washed away in Tuesday’s torrential rains. The rain eroded the dirt around one water main and broke it. The combined bursts cleared a hole large enough that it completely blocked one man’s way out of his house.

“Right now we can’t leave. I mean, I’m stuck. This is a dead end. A lot of people don’t know that over on Moody this is a dead end,” said Chris Andrade, whose driveway was blocked by hole.

Those neighbors now have a small access road cleared and packed down. The rain and water from the burst line flowed down the street, reaching a construction site where it ate away at the earth, swallowing an excavator.

“The combination of the stormwater and our water came down the street and got into this excavated hole and washed it out into the culvert. Unfortunately the contractor’s excavator was right next to it so it fell in on top of the sewer line,” said Alan Shubert, El Paso Water’s vice president for operations and technical services.

The excavator fell on and broke a sewage line that’s now flowing out into the hole. It took two more excavators to pull this one out on Wednesday.

It was the same rain the project is supposed to help handle once finished that eroded all this away.

“When this was all built it was built to surface flow into the Pico Norte Pond, but as we learned in 2014 that creates a dangerous condition,” Shubert said.

“It looks like a river. It pretty much looks like a river. The water is up here above the sidewalk and it flows. Sometimes when you drive your car you can feel the current. The current takes your car,” Andrade explained.

EL Paso Water officials told ABC-7 with these ongoing weather delays they might finish one or two months behind the scheduled finish target in October.

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Julio-Cesar Chavez

Julio-Cesar Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter.


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