EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

March 6, 2013

Hampshire Road, from Pelham St. to Forest Lake, shut down due to possible sinkhole

METHUEN — Police have blocked off Hampshire Road in the northwest corner of the city so a public works crew can fix a sewer line break that has partially undermined the roadway.

The road has been shut since shortly after noon, according to Methuen police Lt. Michael Wnek. He said about a third of the width of the road was "caved in" due to the break.

Police in Pelham, N.H., have been notified of the problem, as Hampshire Road is a common commuter route for residents of Southern New Hampshire trying to get to and from Interstate-93 or Route 28.

Police have been stationed on Hampshire Road at Pelham Street to the east and Ridgewood Road, the entrance to Forest Lake, to the west, to stop cars from driving down the road.

However, emergency vehicles are allowed, Wnek said.

Public Works Director Ray DiFiore said an 8-inch sewer line broke and that it caused a "depression" in the roadway caused by the line rupturing.

He said there were no environmental problems, despite the presence of nearby wetlands, and that the pipe would be repaired in a couple of hours, or around 5 or 6 p.m. tonight.

"They are repairing it now," he said. "We dug down and are replacing it."

Wnek said that unfortunately, there is no detour set up, but that cars are being turned back the way they came. People trying to get home to New Hampshire or a handful of other homes in the area will have to find alternate routes around the blockage.

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This story will be updated on-line and in tomorrow's editions of The Eagle-Tribune.

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