A huge hole has appeared in one of Manchester city centre’s busiest roads after heavy rainfall.
The hole, on the eastbound carriageway of the Mancunian Way, is 40ft (12m) deep and at least 15ft (4.5m) wide.
Both carriageways have been fenced off between the Macdonald Hotel, near Piccadilly Station, and Fairfield Street.
It is believed a large water pipe beneath the road had eroded, causing the road surface to cave in.
About two weeks’ worth of rain fell in about six hours in the city on Friday.
Geology specialist Dr Nigel Cassidy, of Keele University, said: “There is soft sediment in there [under the road] and when it gets wet, as we had with this rainfall, the sediment gets weaker.
“It can wash away sand and you end up with a small cavity opening up, particularly if there is a broken sewer,” he added.
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Manchester City Council said the road could remain closed over the weekend “depending on the extent of the issue”.
Big match delays
The closure is likely to add to greater congestion on Sunday when Manchester City play Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium. The Mancunian Way is one of the main routes to the ground from the west.
Witnesses said the hole had increased in size and part of the pavement has now eroded.
Council and United Utilities officers are currently assessing the scene.
Any extended road closure is likely to cause extra congestion the city. There are extensive roadworks near its main coach station as well as a closure on Oxford Road near the university.
The road may remain closed for several days, a council spokesman said. Traffic is being diverted.