LOCAL NEWS

Massive sinkhole opens in Sandy neighborhood, swallows resident’s yard

Feb 1, 2024, 4:03 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2024, 5:13 pm

SANDY — Repairs are underway in Sandy after a water main break created a large sinkhole in a couple’s front yard.

The sinkhole, that developed Wednesday night on Silver Sage Drive is now about 25 feet wide and anywhere from 15 to 25 feet deep.

“They actually didn’t find the bottom, it went beyond the extent of our equipment,” said Tom Ward, Sandy city’s public utilities director.

The owners of the property, Alta and Gene Cunliffe, discovered the water main break Wednesday around 6 p.m. while checking the mail.

“I tapped out towards the gutter, and it was all mushy,” Gene Cunliffe said.

He called the city and returned to check on the issue, only to find it had quickly progressed.

“Water was coming up about that high (indicating several feet), and it went clear across the street and through the whole neighborhood,” he said.

According to city officials, the recent freezing and thawing temperatures caused an 8-inch water main near the road to completely split. Ward said the amount of water it released was the equivalent of several fire hydrants being opened underground.

“When water can create the Grand Canyon and some of the great beautiful parts of southern Utah, it can also mine out a huge cavern underneath someone’s landscape and, in the process, take out some of the other utilities down there,” Ward said.

The cavern that was created led to the sidewalk, flower boxes, and tools on the Cunliffe’s property all disappearing into the ground. On Thursday, the couple pulled up their lawn chairs and watched as crews tried to dig them out.

“I asked the operator, ‘If you strike oil in there, I get 50%!'” Gene Cunliffe said.

Ward said the sinkhole became so deep at one point, crews couldn’t find the broken sidewalk or the broken pieces of the pipe.

“We never know which water main breaks are going to be a doozy, and this one was a big one,” Ward said.

As the sinkhole grew on Thursday, so did the problems for the Cunliffes, who discovered the water main break also caused the sewer line to break.

“Because the sewer line was affected, we had the sewer back up into our basement,” Gene Cunliffe said.

At 91 years old, Gene Cunliffe said the events of the past 24 hours have been stressful. And he’s praying the bad luck doesn’t truly come in threes.

“The only thing that could happen is a fire, that’s the only thing left!” he joked.

The water main has been paired and water has been restored to the area, but repairs on the sewer line could take between one to three days, according to Ward. He said because it was the city’s pipe that split and caused all the damage to the Cunliffe’s property, the city will repair the damage.

“Sandy city has been very helpful so far, stating they would take care of everything,” Gene Cunliffe said. “The help we’ve received so far has been really good.”

Sandy officials say water has been restored to all 35 impacted residents by Thursday evening, but it would take about three days to fully repair the damages.

Contributing: Andrew Adams, KSL TV

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Police say a man was injured after he illegally crossed a Salt Lake City road Thursday night. (KSL ...

Josh Ellis

Man seriously injured after crossing SLC street, police say

A man was hospitalized with serious but not life-threatening injuries after he was hit by a truck Thursday night.

3 hours ago

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

12 hours ago

Tony Arriaga, owner of Beehive Gloves, creating and relacing baseball gloves at his work desk....

Brianna Chavez

West Valley City business asking for used gloves to repurpose and donate

A West Valley City business is hoping to give back to the community by giving new life to old baseball and softball gloves.

12 hours ago

Jodi Hildebrandt and Ruby Franke on an advertisement for the ConneXions program....

Shelby Lofton

Life coaching regulations under consideration following Hildebrandt case

A bill regulating life coaching programs in Utah is on hold to give the Utah Division of Professional Licensing more time to study the profession.

14 hours ago

CORRECTS SENTENCE TO UP TO 30 YEARS, NOT 60 YEARS - Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court Tue...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Ruby Franke’s parents, brother say Franke was brainwashed

Ruby Franke's parents asked a judge to show "as much mercy" as possible ahead of her sentencing this week for child abuse, saying their daughter had been brainwashed.

14 hours ago

Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, react to a reporter’s qu...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

‘More secrecy’: Utah lawmakers advance bills targeting government transparency

Several bills would chip away at government transparency in Utah, including one proposal that’s a direct response to KSL’s fight for public records. A First Amendment attorney says he’s alarmed.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Massive sinkhole opens in Sandy neighborhood, swallows resident’s yard