UPDATE: Waste Management truck gets stuck in sinkhole in Westwood

FIRST REPORT, 1:48 PM: Thanks for the tip! After a call (206-293-6302 any time!) about a Waste Management truck “stuck in a sinkhole” at 24th SW/SW Kenyon – a short distance east of Denny International Middle School – we went over to look, and that’s indeed what happened.

The front end, as our photos show, is almost wheel-deep, and the truck driver was working to get absorbent material into the hole to sop up any fluid spills – this is not far from Longfellow Creek, which runs along the east side of the Denny/Sealth campus. More help was being summoned, and we’ll check back later. Side note: This is the second Monday in a row that a WM truck got into trouble in West Seattle – you’ll recall Ann Anderson‘s reader report from Admiral last week.

2:20 PM UPDATE: Via the scanner, we’re hearing that SPD is now blocking off the area – 24th SW southbound from Holden and eastbound from Kenyon. (Here’s a map of the scene, which shows why.)

3:06 PM: We just went over to check on how things are going. In the upper left of the photo above is a tow truck that has arrived on scene. Other logistics are still being worked out.

5:20 PM: The truck has been pulled out of the hole and was towed away a short time ago. We arrived back at the scene in time for a look at it – the damage doesn’t look as bad as you might expect.

We talked briefly with an SPU rep at the scene. They have used video equipment to look under the street; water and sewer lines are not affected. They are using a vactor truck to clear water out of storm drainage just east of the sinkhole. (Added: Closer look at the hole, after the truck was pulled out.)

We’ll be checking with SDOT tomorrow about repair plans.

59 Replies to "UPDATE: Waste Management truck gets stuck in sinkhole in Westwood"

  • Chris MacKenzie February 20, 2017 (2:10 pm)

    Hi!  I can relate to this incident!  Our road infrastructure in West Seattle is terrible!  The pothholes and ruts are multiplying with every rainstorm and nothing is being done about it!   Please can we get some response from the City on what they are going to do about actually repairing these holes instead of just covering them up with a scoop of ashfalt?   On of the worst sections of road is California Ave SW from the Admiral Junction down to Harbor Ave!   West Seattle Blog….who do we contact?  

    • WSB February 20, 2017 (2:18 pm)

      Of course …

      City Councilmember Lisa Herbold lisa.herbold@seattle.gov

      But I would also point out that joining forces with your local community council for organized, amplified voicing of concern can be big. In the area you mention, the Admiral Neighborhood Association – next meeting, 2nd Tuesday in March, 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral, info@admiralneighborhood.org

      I’d bet others have good ideas too. – TR

    • At Least It's An Ethos... February 20, 2017 (2:19 pm)

      Best of luck to you.  In my experience, the city will start with the line that it’s the property owner’s responsibility to maintain anything, followed with “we don’t have the money” to address your concern.

      Scam artists.

      • East Coast Cynic February 20, 2017 (10:11 pm)

        That sounds like a par for the course response from the city to most infrastructure problems.  Sometimes they will table the issue for future study.

    • Aly February 20, 2017 (2:38 pm)

      I totally agree with you. West Seattle has the worst streets in the city.  There’s always new potholes I’m having to go around. 35th is especially bad. I’ll be driving and then all of a sudden see chunks of the road spread out in the middle of the road.

    • Mark February 20, 2017 (4:16 pm)

      The stretch of Sylvan Way SW between High Point Dr SW and the Home Depot has gotten pretty terrible this winter, too.  Patching, as others have said, only temporarily solves the problem (and just makes a mess).

      – Mark

  • patt February 20, 2017 (2:22 pm)

    googled “fix a pot hole Seattle” I got this:
    Hope this helps
    Street Maintenance Request Form
    We are their eyes,

    • Mike February 20, 2017 (8:50 pm)

      I’ve used that, could take three weeks to get anyone to even look into fixing.

  • patt February 20, 2017 (2:26 pm)

    this too

  • North of Admiral February 20, 2017 (2:32 pm)

    Oh there are potholes in my neighborhood larger than this. I have to carefully drive my Prius on the sidewalks in most areas in West Seattle. Poor driver. Hope he is ok. I feel sorry for him/her. That was likely a jolting experience.

  • North of Admiral February 20, 2017 (2:50 pm)

    Find it – Fix it. There’s an app for that. Too late for this garbage driver however.

  • Bonnie February 20, 2017 (2:50 pm)

    My goodness, I drive by that spot every day to pick my daughter up from Denny.  

  • RJY February 20, 2017 (3:00 pm)

    Do not worry. This will be magically solved by MORE busses on the streets and light rail.

     We just need to give the same incompetent transit agencies even MORE money to not actually solve any problems. 

     Because… reasons. 

    • sw February 20, 2017 (3:05 pm)

      Ironically, buses are actually the cause of a lot of the road issues.  Articulated coaches with full loads are very heavy, and our asphalt roads were not designed for this amount of weight.  The worst locations are in areas where there was road diet/rechannelization or streets where buses were rerouted.  

      • Josh February 20, 2017 (4:28 pm)

        Many of the roads surrounding Westwood Village (Barton, Roxbury, 26th) are definitely impacted by the increased bus load. It’s astonishing that none of this is planned.

    • Joe Szilagyi February 20, 2017 (5:19 pm)

      All of you realize not a single bus runs on this location, right? It’s basically a cul-de-sac and is on top of Longfellow Creek’s underground river. The cause here is probably years of insane rainfall because of man-made climate change… which is ironically mitigated a bit by getting people out of cars into buses.



      • Overthere February 20, 2017 (8:48 pm)

        Weird, I thought we have been on water rationing for years. The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

  • sw February 20, 2017 (3:01 pm)

    Use the “Find It Fix It” app: available for iOS and Android:




    Easy to use, submits directly to SDOT and you get a reply with a case number.  You can also upload photos and comments of the problem, and tag it with GPS data.  Potholes, streetlights out, graffiti, illegal dumping, parking – all can be reported.   I encourage everyone to download and submit problems repeatedly until they are fixed.  Squeaky wheels…

  • John February 20, 2017 (3:04 pm)

    I wonder if they’ll fix that hole…or just wait for a complaint?  :-)

    • North of Admiral February 20, 2017 (3:30 pm)

      hahaha. Well they do have to prioritize which potholes get fixed. Currently they are only fixing the holes on capital hill but they are aware of this one now and will get to it just as soon as humanly possible. For safety they will place a single orange traffic cone in front of the whole. 

      Of course you can’t be sure which side is the front as it is in the middle of the street!

  • Bob February 20, 2017 (3:07 pm)

    Just an average sized West Seattle pothole.

  • sc February 20, 2017 (3:08 pm)

    At least it was only the wheel and not the whole truck!

  • Carole A Allen February 20, 2017 (3:24 pm)

    Just drive up to Alaska from Barton along 35th and had to dodge potholes most of the way.  If I go to find it fix it can I just enter that entite stretch of 35th, lol?  I felt like I was in a third world country.

  • wsn00b February 20, 2017 (3:38 pm)

    Find it and fix it is part of the problem. All you get out of that is a half-baked pothole patch that washes away with a little bit of rain. It would interesting to see the data on how many times certain potholes have been re-patched.  Using pothole rangers to fix the same pothole multiple times a month is a Sisyphean waste of our money. 

  • HelperMonkey February 20, 2017 (3:45 pm)

    Laughing at everyone suggesting the “find it fix it” app like its magic. Have you actually tried it with any success? Because as near as I can tell from my experience it gets ignored just the same way your phone calls and emails do. The only way I ever got them to respond was by telling them that if a motorcyclist hit that particular pothole they would have a death on their hands. All of a sudden, after weeks of me reporting the same pothole, it was miraculously fixed. 

    • Dave February 20, 2017 (3:56 pm)


    • North of Admiral February 20, 2017 (4:01 pm)

      I did have success with it when it first came out. Both for the stretch of road from California down to Harbor Ave (which continually gets destroyed ever since they removed all the blackberry bushes at Hamilton View Point area) as well as on SW Atlantic at California where the buses take their breaks. 

      Haven’t tried since.

      • sw February 20, 2017 (4:46 pm)

        I also have had success with it.  Helps if you mention that it’s affecting traffic or poses danger of some sort.  If you just write in that it’s an annoyance you’ll certainly be ignored.

        • North of Admiral February 20, 2017 (5:48 pm)

          …or that it just swallowed half a garbage truck. 

  • newnative February 20, 2017 (4:23 pm)

    That is quite a drop.  Any word on the driver?  Is he okay?  

    • WSB February 20, 2017 (4:28 pm)

      The driver’s fine – as mentioned in the story, he was busy trying to get absorbent material into the hole when we were there, which was before any emergency personnel.

  • M February 20, 2017 (4:49 pm)

    I actually reported potholes at Admiral way and City view this morning and also mentioned there are numerous pot holes along the curb going down Admiral way.  Last week I also reported in what appears to be more trees leaning more on Admiral Way. I see some smaller trees have fallen in the last 2 weeks. I just keep thinking that we will have a slide along that stretch soon, especially with all of the water draining down with the cross street City View, which is below where they cut all those trees.  

  • Eric February 20, 2017 (4:49 pm)

    The city doesn’t care how many comments they receive on this.  They will not repave a street unless the situation is ‘in-plan’ for repair/re-pavement — or visibly dire to the common eye.  Up until last year–much money was spent trying to accommodate Bike Riders on dangerously narrow streets instead of providing road improvements.  If a life threatening pothole is reported then yes, they do rush out because they have been put on notice and a serious injury will result in a serious lawsuit once a witness has reported it and can give testimony that they reported it.  We do not have a State Income tax and that is seriously affecting a city of our size and population, especially the quality of our streets.  There will be no change in the city’s response to street improvement unless a very large movement to immediately begin ‘expedited’ repaving is put into place.  This has never happened in Seattle and it will not happen in our lifetimes with a serious ‘additional’ tax to property owners and shoppers paying sales tax.  An expedited program to immediately ‘Properly’ repair and replace Seattle City streets would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and it would be voted down.  I’ve seen better better paved streets in abandoned coal towns in West Virginia.  We are truly ‘remarkable’ here in Seattle.

  • Robert February 20, 2017 (5:10 pm)

    when the president cuts off all the federal money they will have one more excuse to never fix a hole..the hole at the top of 35th has been filled many times, they come by and toss a couple of shovels full of asphalt patch  in and call it fixed, the real cause is broken sub-base, it looks like gravel instead of concrete it is so broken..the city has no rime or reason as to how they schedule a proper fix, 34th sw gets a full and proper fix with concrete, 35th gets a band aid…very much easier to fix one on a side street than the main arterial……

  • newnative February 20, 2017 (5:12 pm)

    Thanks, I didn’t see the mention of the driver’s condition. 

  • Bus rider February 20, 2017 (5:14 pm)

    Truck is removed, just saw it being towed down Delridge. 

    • WSB February 20, 2017 (5:19 pm)

      Thanks – we are just leaving the scene, got back here just before it was taken away.

  • AJP February 20, 2017 (5:21 pm)

    Interesting. Wondering what all these armchair engineers would say is the best road construction for land that is often saturated glacial till, exacerbated by the expansion and contraction of an especially cold winter.

    In any case, you know what never, ever causes potholes? Bikes. And pedestrians. I agree with Eric, we need a state income tax. People whine about everything but don’t want to pay for it. 

    • Mike February 20, 2017 (8:58 pm)

      You’ve never been on the Burke Gillman trail obviously, pothole city!  It’s not always what’s on top, it’s who bidded the lowest to make or fix it.  You know what doesn’t pay for roads?  Bicycle use.  Let’s start charging a tab on cycles that use road lanes.  I’ve only seen a few crazy people running on the roads, but I’ve seen cyclists riding on I5 even, skipping to Mercer St exist.

  • JayDee February 20, 2017 (5:31 pm)

    Plenty of money to put Admiral on a road-diet, but repair the 30-40 year old asphalt? Nope. 3 inches of cold-patch in mid-winter is dumb. On top of bricks from the turn of the previous century. I have a pot-hole on a concrete street near my house that just gets bigger and no response from Find It Fix It. How about “Find It, Forget About It.” (moles tunnel through sandy soil and water runs through holes, eventually piping sand into the street. Once the concrete buckles, wash, rinse, repeat.

  • dsa February 20, 2017 (6:57 pm)

    I think they are purposely “fixing” the potholes incorrectly.  They used  to do it with hot mix and tack coat.

  • Seaview February 20, 2017 (7:04 pm)

    Maybe west Seattle should consider allowing metered parking. Then revenue could be allocated to our streets. 

    • WSB February 20, 2017 (7:09 pm)

      West Seattle Junction parking is scheduled for its next SDOT review next year, as we reported last September. That will be nine years after its last review. A little bit has changed since then …

  • Millie February 20, 2017 (7:18 pm)

    The idea that a State Income Tax would resolve all our road problems, school problems, etc., etc., is not realistic.  Recently, the citizens of Seattle voted for a $1B Move Seattle levy. Voters in Seattle have been more than generous in voting for increased taxes for transportation and roads. How is the money ($1B) being allocated? Other than 10% here, 5% there. How many levy dollars are actually being spent on road maintenance? I’ve been driving for more years than I care to admit and still avoid the same potholes as in my 20’s. In the interim,  new potholes are being created with the road diets, the ceaseless new construction tearing up the streets for utility work leaving behind endless potholes/bumps.  I guess you can see where I’m going with this.

    In regards to a State Income Tax, I’m not necessarily against the idea.  However, it should not result in  an additional tax but rather replacement of the sales tax, reduction of the property, business & occupation and so forth. The legislation would also need to ensure these taxes or new taxes could not be voted on simply by the State Legislature.  In the future, I personally, will  be extremely cautious of voting for any new or continuing tax.  

  • Erithan February 20, 2017 (7:33 pm)

    I imagine all the leaf blowers blowing leaves and debris on/near the drains did not help.  +snow chains on buses etc. glad no one was hurt

  • Steve February 20, 2017 (8:59 pm)

    This epitomuzes mayor Eddy and the city council brilliantly!

  • Ann February 20, 2017 (9:28 pm)

    How about a class action suit against the city for car  realignments related to poor street repair.  Oh, but then they would probably find a way to raise our property taxes because of that

    • WSB February 20, 2017 (9:31 pm)

      You actually can file a claim against the city if you believe it’s responsible for car damage (among other things).


      • Mike February 21, 2017 (9:57 am)

        I tried the complaint process, filed with proof of damage, photos of the pothole in question, etc.  They came back with citing the little text that releases the city from responsibility if the damaged area was not previously reported an issue within the past three weeks.  So if the fixed it a month before and the pothole came back, and nobody complained, not their issue.  Note the time they give themselves to fix potholes is… About the same time frame.  The game is rigged in the cities favor.  You actually have to take them to court.  Now they will fight with waste management, I am guessing the damages to this truck are in excess of a few thousand dollars in parts alone.  Looked like fluid leaked, if it’s hazardous waste that leaked and the city didn’t clean that properly, another complaint should be filed.

        • Swede. February 21, 2017 (11:30 am)

          The ‘previously known’ part is total bullshit. Heard this many times before and is just like you say, a loophole to get out of responsibility. Which should mean that the truck in this article won’t get any repair pay for either since that hole wasn’t reported before… Who thinks this up? 


      • Alistair February 24, 2017 (12:12 pm)

        For what it’s worth, I can tell you that the City DOES pay damage claims.  I had to replace two alloy rims and two tires after my daughter hit a 6″ deep pothole (full of water on a dark night) on SW Orchard St.  They took responsibility and paid for the replacement, and they fixed the pothole PDQ.

        You do actually have to look for the Notification forms and the Claim forms, but the process is not difficult.  It’s likely more cost-efficient to depend on citizens to alert them to road repair problems, than to pay for a fleet of City-employed pothole hunters to comb the streets.

        We all have tough budgeting decisions to make – I’m sure the City is no different.  If you don’t want to pay more taxes to cover these costs, invest some time in letting the City know where the problems are, and cause them some pain by filing legitimate damage claims when they are justified.  Money flows to the greatest perceived need – that’s the way the free market works!

  • Chris February 20, 2017 (9:34 pm)

    I hope the driver was not harmed and applaud his fast thinking to limit the vehicle fluids from leaching to the creek.  Can’t really comment on the sink hole since I have no idea if there were already signs of potential problems before the road collapsed.  But I have to agree that roads in West Seattle are getting much worse than usual.  I have lived here 25 years and realize that some of the problems are because of all the construction, but not all of it.  I don’t know this for a fact, but assume the developers and not tax payers are paying for the road damage created by their work?  I had to replace a sewer line and was told I had to pay for repairs to the sidewalk and street, and would expect the same for developers.  I also wanted to mention that I have approved most tax levies for keeping bus service in Seattle, and building for the future of light rail and other transit options.  I feel that I’m doing my part to support our city leaders, and at a minimum I would expect them to at least take care of all of the city roads to ensure they are safe and reliable.  I believe this to be one of the most basic job requirements of our city leaders.  But I do get the impression they don’t care and always seem to have more excuses than answers which is disappointing.  I’ve voted for the revenue to help improve things, but now I’m thinking it’s necessary to vote for different leaders that are better at managing a city with the funds that have been made available to them.

  • S February 20, 2017 (11:25 pm)

    The City of Seattle has the time and money to throw at people that don’t even live in the US, yet they can’t even deal with normal maintenance of our road ways. 

  • Marty February 21, 2017 (11:25 am)

    Seattle has turned into a sanctuary city for potholes!!!

  • Dick February 21, 2017 (1:40 pm)

    Funny that the story is about a sinkhole and everyone is complaining about potholes.  There’s a difference….


  • Chris February 21, 2017 (8:37 pm)

    It’s not funny because sinkhole or pothole it’s basically a detoriating road system that will eventually get someone hurt. 

    • WSB February 21, 2017 (8:45 pm)

      By the way, SPU says a broken stormwater pipe caused this incident. Separate story soon as the meeting we’re covering is over.

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