Road in Northampton where large hole appeared now reopen but cause of collapse still remains ‘unknown’

Earl Street has reopened to traffic, just less than three weeks after a large hole appeared there.
Earl Street has reopened to traffic, just less than three weeks after a large hole appeared there.

A water company says it may never know why a road in Northampton town centre collapsed completely out of the blue last month, leaving a 15ft deep hole.

Earl Street, which runs alongside the Charles Bradlaugh pub in the Upper Mounts area, was opened again to traffic yesterday having been cordoned off for repairs for nearly three weeks.

Earl Street as it is now.

Earl Street as it is now.

On April 23 an 8ft wide void appeared in the road moments after a car had driven over it.

Thankfully no one was injured in the incident, but those nearby recalled hearing a large bang and properties along Earl Street were momentarily left without water.

Anglian Water completed the repairs to the road, a damaged water main and a storm drain after the incident.

But spokesman for the firm Antony Innes said the cause of the collapse is unclear.

Earl Street has reopened to traffic, just less than three weeks after a large hole appeared there.

Earl Street has reopened to traffic, just less than three weeks after a large hole appeared there.

He said: “It is going to be one of those that it is nigh on impossible to be certain what caused it.”

Mr Innes said is not clear whether a leaking water main caused the road to weaken and collapse, or whether the road collapsed and the force of the falling concrete damaged the water main.

He added: “In the past we have seen a waterway that has been leaking for a certain amount of time, which causes a small dip in the road and which we would then investigate.

“In this case there was no dip there. We can never be sure whether the main was leaking and caused the soil to wash away or whether the road collapsed for another reason.”

Mr Innes added that the road, which took three days to fill in with around 50 cubic metres of concrete, is ‘entirely safe’ to drive on.