SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A draink pipe more than 10 feet wide in Balboa Park burst in the last week, leading to multiple sinkholes on a hillside under the U.S. Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park.
The sinkholes, west of Florida Drive and north of 26th Street, closed off one lane of southbound traffic and the sidewalk leading south of the medical center.
"The sinkholes have compromised the adjacent sidewalk and roadway," the city said in an emergency public notice. "Immediate repair of the storm drain is necessary to prevent the expansion of the sinkholes and protect public infrastructure."
The notice, dated Feb. 12, says repair work will include 550 linear feet of work, plus back filling and repair and replacement of the damaged infrastructure.
"With all that rain and water we just had, that pipe was probably flowing full, plus water must have been pounding up on the ground," said geologist Pat Abbott. "Once that thing starts to rupture, with all that pressure in the system, it just goes step after step after step and you end up with the big mess we see today."
While drivers are reduced to one lane, some pedestrians are ignoring the warning signs and walking along the sidewalk. The damage is just west of the concrete, with multiple holes in the hillside. Abbott said the closure is likely out of an abundance of caution.
Sebastian Sarria, a UC San Diego student who often takes Florida Drive, said he's glad the city took action.
"Safety is first, so better prevent something from happening rather than dealing with it after it happens," he said.
A city spokesman said no information was available beyond the notice.
Abbott said this kind of work usually takes a few days to complete.