The city of Montreal expects the massive sinkhole that swallowed a backhoe in downtown Montreal will be repaired by Monday, weather permitting.

Richard Deschamps, the city councillor responsible for overseeing infrastructure, says that all of the water mains and sewage pipes that had rotted away underneath the street had been repaired.

Construction crews had just begun exploratory work two and a half weeks ago to determine the extent of a leaking water problem on Ste. Catherine St. when the street caved in. A backhoe fell in and remained there for a day and a half until it was removed.

Those who live and work in the area were not surprised, since that same stretch between Guy St. and St. Mathieu St. was closed for several weeks in February for waterworks repairs. At that time crews replacing a 19th-century sewer line discovered that a water main was mysteriously missing.

Deschamps said that crews have been working hard for the past two weeks and have replaced all the missing and damaged infrastructure. Gaz Metro was able to turn on gas lines on Wednesday, and the only steps remaining were to build the final layers of the roadway.

He estimated that the filling the hole and repairing the damaged waterworks could cost anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000 based on similar work done elsewhere.