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San Francisco sinkhole: Parts of Fillmore Street, Green Street remain closed

Utility workers on the scene of a sinkhole in the intersection of Fillmore and Green streets and subsequent flooding that affected areas down the hill toward Lombard Street in San Francisco on Monday, September 11, 2023.
Crews were working at the scene of a sinkhole in the intersection of Fillmore and Green streets on Monday. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

Work crews with multiple agencies have completed fixes to a water main break and massive sinkhole at a San Francisco intersection—but officials say more work lies ahead.

The break late Sunday night just steps from San Francisco’s Union Street shopping district sent water and mud surging from the Green and Fillmore streets intersection into nearby streets, flooding at least one business.

By Monday morning, a giant sinkhole had appeared at the intersection, according to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesman Joseph Sweiss.

On Tuesday morning, Sweiss told The Standard that fixes to a cast-iron 16-inch water main that was installed in 1949, as well as repairs to a nearby 8-inch water main, were complete by 9:36 p.m. Monday.

a massive sinkhole in a city street
A sinkhole formed at the intersection of Fillmore and Green streets in San Francisco on Monday. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

In the wake of those repairs, crews are now focused on temporarily restoring street surfaces and paving, but Sweiss acknowledged that the work would require coordination with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which had rerouted its 22 Fillmore and 45 Union/Stockton buses.

Although progress could appear piecemeal, Sweiss said, “the goal is to do it as efficiently as possible, given the impacts on the commercial corridor,” and anticipated more updates within a few days.

On Monday, a Pacific Gas & Electric worker at the scene estimated disruption in the area was expected to last at least a week.

A sinkhole appeared at Green and Fillmore streets in San Francisco on Monday morning. | Liz Lindqwister/The Standard

On Tuesday, PG&E spokesperson Karly Hernandez told The Standard that workers had shut off a gas line at Green and Fillmore streets at 1:30 p.m. Monday, interrupting service for three customers.

Hernandez also said that while further disruption to gas service was not expected, it could be possible given the roadway’s instability but added that there were no electrical infrastructure issues seen in the area.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency staff posted updated locations for the rerouted No. 22 Fillmore and No. 45 Union/Stockton buses. Riders for the No. 22 buses were advised to board at Steiner/Union or Fillmore/Lombard streets, avoiding the Fillmore/Union stops.

On Tuesday afternoon, Union Street Coffee Roastery worker Michelle Ung said that two smaller holes appeared down the block from the sinkhole at Fillmore and Union streets. One hole is on the sidewalk next to her shop, and one is in the middle of the street.

Ung said the coffee shop’s water was never cut off, but some nearby residents still have no water. Traffic is blocked on Fillmore Street from Union to Vallejo streets, so business is slow and their only customers are walk-ins.

By 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sweiss told The Standard that Fillmore Street remained closed from Filbert to Vallejo streets, while Green Street remained closed from Webster to Steiner streets. He also said that are customers were seeing normal water service as of noon Monday, and added that SFPUC personnel and the City Attorney’s Claims Division were present to aid residents and area businesses.

Bay City News contributed to this report.