Part of road gutted by Richmond sinkhole to reopen


In April 2010, heavy rains caused the 120-foot-long, 40-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep sinkhole and the collapse of a large culvert on El Portal Drive near the Interstate Highway 80 on-ramp in Richmond.

Construction to repair the destroyed stretch of roadway began soon after and is now complete. The road expected to reopen at 2 p.m. today, in time for this afternoon's commute, according to Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia's office.

The latest phase of the rebuilding project included installing a concrete storm drain measuring 3,000 cubic yards, according to Gioia's office.

"Rebuilding this has been an engineering feat," the supervisor said. "But the community's really happy to see the road reopened."

Jennifer Arrouzet, owner of nearby Cafi Soleil and president of the El Sobrante Chamber of Commerce, said that she and other local business owners have been looking forward to the road reopening for more than two years.

"When the road closed, people just stopped coming to our downtown," she said.

Tawfic Halaby, the reconstruction project engineer, said crews added extra construction days and hours in order to reopen the road before Christmas.

More work remains on the project, including setting up underground utilities, re-sloping the hillside and rebuilding Via Verdi, the road that gives access to a neighboring apartment building.

Halaby said he expects the work to be complete by spring.

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