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Giant sinkhole in Japan repaired in matter of days

In the end, it disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared.

A giant sinkhole which swallowed a chunk of road the length of a city block in the southwestern Japanese city of Fukuoka has been filled mere days after it appeared, a testament to Japanese engineering and efficiency.

After the sinkhole appeared on November 8, subcontractors worked around the clock to fill in the 30 meter (98 ft) wide, 15 meter (50 ft) deep hole by the 12th with a mixture of sand and cement. The job was complicated by the water which had seeped in from sewage pipes destroyed by collapsing sections of road.

After that it only took another 48 hours to reinstall all utilities — electricity, water, sewage, gas and telecommunication lines — and to resurface the road. There were no reports of injuries.

This combo shows a photo of a giant sinkhole (R), measuring around 30 metres (98 feet) wide and 15 metres deep, which appeared in a five-lane street in the middle of the Japanese city of Fukuoka on November 8, 2016 and another photo (L) of the same section of road after repairs were made on November 15. The Japanese city on November 15 reopened the busy street that collapsed into a giant sinkhole, with efforts of crews who worked round the clock for a week drawing raves on social media. / AFP / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUT (Photo credit should read JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

This combo shows a photo of a giant sinkhole (R), measuring around 30 metres (98 feet) wide and 15 metres deep, which appeared in a five-lane street in the middle of the Japanese city of Fukuoka on November 8, 2016 and another photo (L) of the same section of road after repairs were made on November 15.
The Japanese city on November 15 reopened the busy street that collapsed into a giant sinkhole, with efforts of crews who worked round the clock for a week drawing raves on social media. / AFP / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUT (Photo credit should read JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

The gigantic sinkhole opened suddenly last week in Hakata ward in Fukuoka’s business district, swallowing huge sections of road near underground work to extend a subway tunnel.

City officials were working nearby to extend the subway from a nearby station to the city center along a 1.4-kilometer (0.86 mile) route.

Motohisa Oda, a crisis management officer from the city of Fukuoka, told CNN that the underground construction work may have triggered the collapse.

The gaping hole — which started off as two smaller ones before merging into the larger cavity — appeared 300 meters from the JR Hakata station, one of the city’s main transport hubs.

The mayor of Fukuoka, Soichiro Takashima, said the affected ground had been strengthened by a factor of 30 because of the sand and cement refill.

Previously comprised largely of sand, the soil’s composition was suspected to be a part of the cause for the huge hole, according to local civil engineering experts.