Massive sinkhole opens in middle of busy Israeli highway

Israel's central city of Tel Aviv faced a rather large sinkhole this weekend, and in quite a busy street, too. Somehow, though, no one was hurt!

 Sinkhole opens up on Tel Aviv highway  (photo credit: Ayalon Routes)
Sinkhole opens up on Tel Aviv highway
(photo credit: Ayalon Routes)

A massive sinkhole randomly opened up in the middle of a major and central Israeli highway on Saturday. Drivers have been alerted and advised to not arrive anywhere in the area in their private vehicles, while the roads going south from the Hashalom Interchange have been opened, save for the one coming from the north. 

Drivers heading towards Hashalom Interchange in Tel Aviv on Saturday were surprised to find that a rather large sinkhole had opened up in the middle of Highway 20, more commonly known as the Ayalon Highway.

Despite the region being a heavily populated one, in particular with drivers heading to and from family meals for the weekend, no one was hurt.

Thankfully, Fire and Rescue Services reported shortly after the sinkhole opened up that no one was hurt and that no people or cars had fallen in.

Footage from the scene shows a rather large gap between where the pavement ends at the edge of the sinkhole and where the ground begins below it.

Sinkhole opens up on Tel Aviv highway (Credit: Ayalon Routes)

The exit ramp heading into Hashalom Interchange from the north was closed as a result and while traffic on some parts of the highway was closed overnight, the road reopened early Sunday morning. The exit ramp will remain closed, however, until further notice.

While Israel Railways closed rail traffic in the area while safety checks were conducted near the sinkhole, rail traffic resumed operations at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

The IDF announced on Saturday night that the times that soldiers would be required to arrive on base on Sunday would be set by each commander according to the transportation situation in their area.

Additionally, only necessary soldiers will need to arrive at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, the Glilot base north of Tel Aviv and the military camps in the Gush Dan region on Sunday.

Transportation Minister Meirav Michaeli called on commuters not to arrive in the Tel Aviv area in private vehicles on Sunday.

Not the first - and sadly not the last

Israel has sadly had its fair share of sinkholes in the past. Just two months prior, a man fell to his death after a sinkhole opened up under an illegally-constructed pool.

Klil Kimhi, a 32-year-old from Tel Aviv, was at the pool for a party when he fell into the pit, which had sucked him in after opening up. Footage from the incident shows the water being pulled into the gaping hole, as the partygoers attempt to grasp onto something in order to not be sucked inside.

Last year, the parking lot in Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek hospital collapsed due to a sinkhole, as well. By some miracle, no one had been injured during the incident, though three cars did fall into the pit.