17th St. retaining wall collapses under heavy rain

Posted: Updated:
Torrential downpours in parts of the borough soaked the streets Friday, damaging roads and leaving behind puddles several inches deep during the evening commute. Torrential downpours in parts of the borough soaked the streets Friday, damaging roads and leaving behind puddles several inches deep during the evening commute.
BROOKLYN -

Torrential downpours in parts of the borough soaked the streets Friday, damaging roads and leaving behind puddles several inches deep during the evening commute.

A retaining wall at Hamilton Avenue and 17th Street crumbled around 1:30 p.m., causing massive traffic delays. The intersection is near a Gowanus Expressway exit ramp, which compounded the traffic issues. One group of travelers said it took them 20 minutes to go just a half-mile in the area.

A firefighter at the scene said the rain likely exacerbated existing issues with the retaining wall, leading to the fall. He said salt used during winter snow removal could have weakened the foundation.

After cleaning up the debris, emergency workers appeared to be drilling down the wall that was still intact as a precaution to ensure the rest of it doesn't suddenly collapse. 

The tumbling bricks managed to avoid hitting any vehicles, and authorities say no one was hurt. Workers had to use a payloader to remove the heavy objects.

Until work is finished, cars traveling down Hamilton Avenue will not be able to turn onto 17th Street. Officials say they expect 17th Street to reopen Saturday morning or earlier.

The rain is expected to ease up but continue overnight into Saturday, when there will be more light showers scattered throughout the day.

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