Certain larger-than-life phenomena like San Francisco's fog or Fenway Park's left field wall demand personification, names like Karl and The Green Monster, respectively. Along those lines, Oakland's California Highway Patrol took a moment to alert drivers to the presence of a massive sinkhole on a southbound lane of state Highway 13 so large they nicknamed it "Steve." Cute.

On Monday, Oakland CHP wrote on its Facebook page, previously devoted to less lighthearted warnings, that "Steve was born this morning, at about 5:20 AM, on southbound SR-13 just north of Broadway Terrace in Oakland. Steve is approximately 5 feet in diameter and about 10 feet deep."

Steve soon grew, and grew and grew, eventually measuring 10-20 feet in depth.The sinkhole was likely the byproduct of a ruptured pipe and the heavy volume of recent rainfall in the region, Caltrans told Bay City New service.

"Steve the sinkhole started out as a little guy, but has grown quite a bit in the time he has been with us!" CHP wrote later on Monday. "Luckily, Caltrans District 4 is hoping to have him back to being plain old Andy asphalt by tomorrow evening's commute." A short, happy life.


If your wheel was devoured by Steve or one of the other potholes, sinkholes, or miscellaneous gaping maws in our roads that have recently threatened to swallow vehicles, there is recourse, the Chronicle explains: Drivers can file a damage claim against Caltrans, for example. As the agency tells CBS5, “If you feel that you have lost money or property as a result of any action or inaction by Caltrans and your claim is for $10,000 or less, you can file your claim directly with Caltrans.” To do so, drivers need to obtain two repair estimates and then wait for 45 days of processing before they'll get a response to their claim.

While Oakland CHP's comedic approach to road damage got people to pay attention, it's been difficult for the agency to shift its tone back to serious matters. "We know we've been having some fun online recently with Steve the sinkhole," CHP wrote to its Facebook page last night, "but we need to take a serious turn and are asking for your help finding a vehicle which fled a fatal collision scene." Not cute.

Related: January's Rains Were Some Of SF's Heaviest In 168 Years

via Oakland CHP