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University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

Six months later, the sinkhole at Circle Drive is finally gone.

Brian Lai
The sinkhole is now filled up and fencing around the area has been removed.

Though the sinkhole is now gone, it won’t soon be forgotten. Students interviewed this week and last

recalled the frustration it invoked as well as the gratitude they feel now that it’s fixed.


In a campus-wide email sent to students in late February of this year, a sinkhole appeared at Circle Drive. The sink hole’s appearance was attributed to the heavy spring rainfall that occurred throughout the month,


Part of Circle Drive and Campus Road was then subsequently closed to ascertain the damage done and the necessary repairs needed.


Since then, life on campus continued albeit for the fenced off area of the sinkhole. Drivers were redirected away from the fenced off area, instructed to drive along Paseo Rancho Castilla road, using the north entrances and exits of Parking Structure B instead.


The Metro bus lines 06, 200, 256, 258, and 665 and the Alhambra Community Transit were redirected, as a construction crew worked on filling in the sink hole and restoring the road. 


It was expected that construction would finish in May, according to an email update sent in March, but construction continued throughout the summer. By then, geotechnical engineers discovered the cause of the sinkhole, attributed to a leaking storm drainpipe, which left the soil around the area to be worn and washed away by all the water.


While it was expected to finish repairs in May, the construction continued throughout the summer.


“The amount of time it took for the repair of this sinkhole was disappointing,” Alejandra Trejo, an urban learning major,” said. “Having a possibility of endangering lives and vehicles should never be a thought. This hole should have been dealt with immediately.”


It wasn’t until Aug. 18, three days before the start of the beginning of fall 2023 semester, that a campus-wide email was sent, stating that “a stretch of Circle Drive on the south end of campus will reopen to vehicles on Monday, Aug. 21.” 


With the reopening of the road, the email maintained that the bus routes will once again pick up and drop off their passengers at the Transit Center, and Parking Structure B will allow people to enter and exit off Circle Drive. Vehicular traffic is expected to considerably lessen, but the area will remain closed to pedestrians due to the sidewalks not having been properly replaced yet.


However, while students are relieved that the sinkhole has been repaired, the recent tropical storm that hit the area has raised concerns, as the cause of the sinkhole was originally due to heavy rainfall.


“We definitely want the school to reassure us,” Ling Luo, a graduate student, said. “First of all, definitely a check up on all the road conditions on campus but also an update on the quality of the sinkhole repair. Is it still the kind of durability they expected even with all the rainfall? If it happened once, we will have the fear that it might happen again with a similar raining condition.”

The sinkhole has been an inconvenience for many students on campus.


Luo remembered having to take an Uber home once, and the sinkhole made it extremely difficult for her to find her Uber and also leave the campus.


“The usual pick-up spot is kind of blocked, so I had to walk around to see where the driver can access,” she said. “After I got picked up, we realized that we can not go to the original way out because with the closure in one way we literally had to go all the way around campus to get onto the freeway. I just cannot imagine if you do drive to campus on a regular basis that is definitely not the most interesting thing to look at for the whole semester.”


Cal State LA student Johnathan Maclock usually parks in Parking Lot B, located near the vicinity of Salazar Hall and the student services building. Since the sinkhole appeared near the intersection of Campus Road and Circle Drive, traffic has been redirected to other roads, which meant more traffic congestion during busy times.


Whether going in or out, anyone who drove near Parking Lot B and the road of Paseo Rancho Castilla experienced increased traffic.


“It only takes a few extra minutes.” Maclock said. “I can see how if somebody was in a hurry, they would wish that it (the area near the sinkhole) was just open.”


The familiar fence that had once enclosed the entire area for months was now gone, replaced with yellow tape, traffic cones and new solid concrete for the road. Construction workers could be seen taking measurements of the new road and painting it.


The reopening of Circle Drive and Campus Road is expected to ease the traffic around the area, just in time for the beginning of the fall semester. The area will remain closed to pedestrians through September as sidewalks are being replaced.

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About the Contributors
Brian Lai, Digital Editor
Brian Lai is an English major, and an UT reporter that writes mostly about Calstate LA’s campus. He covers campus events, issues and highlights, and other related topics. 
Anne To, Editor-in-chief
Anne To is the Editor in Chief of the UT and also the co-Station manager of the Golden Eagle Radio. She loves working on audio production with radio, podcasting, and more! You may have seen some of her comics with the Life of Biffy series. During her free time she is either taking a nap, or playing video games.  
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