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Three buildings evacuated after cave-in at Hod Hasharon worksite

Part of street blocked to traffic over fears scaffolding at construction site could collapse; initial probe finds hole opened at excavated parking lot

A construction site in the central city of Hod Hasharon, where a sinkhole opened up forcing the evacuation of three buildings, January 19, 2023. (Hod Hasharon Municipality)
A construction site in the central city of Hod Hasharon, where a sinkhole opened up forcing the evacuation of three buildings, January 19, 2023. (Hod Hasharon Municipality)

Three buildings were evacuated Thursday until further notice over fears they would collapse after a cave-in at a nearby construction site in the central city of Hod Hashron.

The local municipality said part of the street around the buildings was also blocked off to vehicles over concerns the scaffolding could shift, causing it to fall.

According to a preliminary investigation, the cave-in occurred at an automated parking lot that was excavated at the construction site, a statement from the municipality said.

“Hod Hasharon Mayor Amir Kohavi is on location alongside municipal engineering teams, a constructor from the contracting company, the structural engineer, and security forces,” the statement read.

Two of the buildings were evacuated at midday and the third later on in afternoon.

In recent months, sinkholes have appeared at several locations in central Israel, including a major highway, fueling fears that such incidents could, become more widespread.

A sinkhole that opened up at a Hod Hasharon construction site during the excavation of a robotic parking lot, January 19, 2023. (Hod Hasharon Municipality)

Also in Hod Hasharon, a driver on Saturday narrowly escaped when his car was pulled into a sinkhole.

In the same city in November 2022, a sinkhole appeared in a parking spot between two buildings. Emergency services that arrived at the scene ordered an evacuation of nearby buildings until municipal engineers examined the hole to assess its cause.

Also that month, two other sinkholes were discovered on roadways in Tel Aviv.

In September 2022, a large sinkhole opened up on the major Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, shutting down the highway completely for hours and leaving a main exit shuttered for two weeks.

Police at the site of a sinkhole on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on September 17, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Last summer, a man was killed after the swimming pool he was in collapsed and he was dragged into a sinkhole that formed underneath.

In 2021, a sinkhole opened up in the parking lot of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, swallowing several cars.

They are also common occurrences around the Dead Sea, caused after receding saltwater leaves behind underground salt deposits, which are later dissolved by rainwater or flash floods, causing the land above to collapse.

Last month, the Academy of the Hebrew Language announced “sinkhole” was its word of the year 2022.

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