A New York City street and sidewalk collapsed Friday into a 40-foot-wide crater near a construction site as a gas line exploded and a water main ruptured.
Authorities said no one was injured in the afternoon incident at Northern Boulevard and 114th Street in Queen’s East Elmhurst neighborhood. The collapse prompted Con Edison to shut down the gas line and close part of Northern Boulevard, where water was shooting out from a gaping hole next to the site of a planned new apartment building.
The exact sequence of events that accompanied the loud explosion was under investigation. But flying debris pierced a car roof, shattered the windshield of another and stopped traffic amid a dusty cloud.
Department of Buildings spokesman Andrew Rudansky said inspectors found a section of sidewalk and roadway that caved into the construction excavation.
A stop work order was issued last month after the city received a complaint from a member of the public on Dec. 19 saying the work was causing cracks on the sidewalk and the road. In addition, there were no construction plans at the site as required, inspectors said. The order was still in effect at the time of the collapse.
The retaining wall of the construction site developed a big hole, allowing dirt to pour in and causing the street to give way, according to the New York City Fire Department .
The general contractor for the future 12-story building is the New York-based Perini Group Inc., according to the Department of Buildings. Calls to the company went unanswered on Friday.
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