A new digging machine–dubbed the "Nefertari"–has caused a 5-centimeter deep, 2.25-meter long sinkhole on al-Geish Street in the downtown Cairo district of Attaba. The machine had been in the process of digging a tunnel for Cairo's third subway line.
Heavy digging activity also damaged the facades of three shops in the area, causing a brief panic among local residents.
“The surface of this area is fragile,” said Subway Authority President Atta al-Sherbini. “In the process of digging, air pressure was forced to the surface, causing a small sinkhole in the street.”
Al-Sherbini went on to point out that the machine had dug more than 100 meters since it began operating earlier this month without encountering any problems.
Nevertheless, local shopkeepers expressed their frustration.
“Subway Authority officials told us to shut down for six days, paying us LE60 per day in compensation,” said shop owner Fawzi Sayed. “But they never told us that the machine would damage our storefronts.”
According to a Subway Authority source, engineers have been dispatched to the area to conduct soil tests in order to assess the damage caused by the sinkhole.
Cairo's third subway line is dug at an estimated cost of LE3.6 billion and will be 43 km-long, covering the Attaba-Abbasiya area in central and east Cairo. A fourth subway line is also under construction and will connect the eastern neighborhood of Heliopolis to the Cairo International Airport.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.