A sinkhole as big as a midsized car has opened at 20th and Farnam Streets in downtown Omaha.

City of Omaha traffic engineers say the intersection of 20th and Farnam Streets is mostly closed for emergency repairs after a large sinkhole developed.

The restrictions will be in effect for two to three weeks, officials said.

Officials urged motorists to avoid the intersection and to use alternate downtown routes.

“The hole is the size of a midsize car on the surface,’’ Todd Pfitzer, city engineer, said Friday morning. “Below the surface, it’s larger, but it’s covered by the remaining surface material.’’

A leaking pipe led to the sinkhole, he said, and crews were working to locate the leak.

Once the repairs are made, the sinkhole will be filled with dirt and compacted, and then new pavement put down over it, Pfitzer said.

Farnam Street was still closed Friday morning between 19th and 20th Streets, though “we hope to have one lane for westbound Farnam open soon,” Pfitzer said. Motorists would be better off using either St. Mary’s Avenue or Dodge Street.

Southbound traffic on 20th Street is interrupted at Farnam Street; motorists can turn west on Farnam but can’t continue south through the intersection. Traffic is being detoured to Douglas or Dodge Street.

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