Five Sinkholes Open Up During Construction of Nanjing Subway in a Single Month

First step in fixing the sinkhole: making sure no one can see it

Sinkhole Phenomenon

Although subway lines have been popping up regularly through China, the construction for Nanjing’s Line 4 subway has hit an obstacle in the form of a large sinkhole.

The hole opened up early Monday morning on Beijing East Road and is estimated to be ten square meters in diameter and one meter deep. Workers were seen putting up a temporary wall as someone approached the photographer who took the above pictures to force them to stop taking pictures (as seen in picture #3).

The sinkhole has caused traffic chaos in Nanjing, with traffic on the two-way street now just limited to one lane.

However, this isn’t the first time that a sinkhole has appeared on Beijing East Road. As a matter of fact, there have been four other sinkholes that have opened up while tunnel construction is underway:

  • A 40 centimeter-deep sinkhole that opened at October 29 at 5:40am
  • A 1.5 meter-deep sinkhole that opened at October 29 at 9am, trapping a passing ambulance
  • A 3 meter-deep sinkhole that opened on November 2 in the afternoon
  • A 1.6 meter-deep sinkhole that opened on November 10 at 8am

But as news reports tell us, the sinkholes don’t have anything to do with the subway construction. According to a spokesperson for the Nanjing Subway Construction Unit, Monday’s sinkhole is the result of heavy rains that have been falling on Nanjing.

Explanations for the other four sinkholes weren’t mentioned in the report.

Sinkholes resulting from subway construction in China is not limited to Nanjing. This past August, a 300 square meter sinkhole appeared in a densely-populated part of Dongguan that killed a worker underground, while Shenzhen has seen four sinkholes this year arising from subway construction-related causes.

Other Chinese fatalities resulting from subway tunnels collapse during construction include a Shenyang victim last month, and another in Nanning last October.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor