Margaret Rose (left) and daughter Jess check out their Nissan Tiida hatchback, which sunk into the roadway in Moon Street, Ballina, yesterday.
Margaret Rose (left) and daughter Jess check out their Nissan Tiida hatchback, which sunk into the roadway in Moon Street, Ballina, yesterday.

Woman's car gets that sinking feeling

MARGARET ROSE, from Goonellabah, didn't expect a trip to Ballina yesterdaywould see her car sink into a hole in the roadway.

As Mrs Rose and her 20-year-old daughter, Jess, celebrated Jess's good marks in her tertiary law studies with a family luncheon inside Serious Coffee, the family car, a Nissan Tiida hatchback, parked only a few metres away outside, sank into a section of Moon Street.

The two women and Jess's grandmother returned to the car to find the front right wheel in the hole, which was so deep the front bumper was resting on the surface of the road, and the back left wheel was about 20cm in the air.

“I couldn't believe it,” Mrs Rose said.

“Jess noticed it - we thought it was a flat tyre.

“And then we were horrified (when they realised what had happened).”

The car is only three months old - a replacement for a vehicle that was written off in an accident.

After the initial shock of seeing the silver vehicle in the hole, which was about 40cm deep, the pair then found the sight 'pretty entertaining'.

Ballina Shire Council workers were on the job not long after the incident was reported, and waited for the owner to return to her car for over half an hour.

One local shopkeeper, who did not want to be identified, said holes were a common sight and the 'road needs to be repaired properly'.

But the business owner said they had never seen a car sink into a hole.

They said a hole could easily pose a danger to pedestrians and cause damage to motor vehicles.

Mrs Rose will take her car to a mechanic to have it checked, and then contact Ballina Shire Council if repairs are needed. Council workers photographed the vehicle.

Five council workers provided some man power to get the car out of the hole, with Jess at the wheel.

Council's group manager - civil services, John Truman, said the ageing stormwater pipe that runs beneath that section of road shifts, creating cavities below the surface and causing subsidence of the road.

He said council staff had in the past few days inspected the work done where Mrs Rose parked her car, and it passed the inspection. “Obviously now there has been an incident, more repairs will be done on the road,” he said.

The Moon Street stormwater drain is to be replaced in a major project starting by March next year.

Mr Truman said that yesterday's heat probably didn't have any influence on the cause.



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