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RICHMOND, Texas - Crews worked frantically Tuesday to stabilize a massive ditch that runs like a scar through a subdivision near Richmond.

They used dump trucks, dirt and backhoes to build a dam in back yards along Forest River Drive.

It s crazy, said Anthony Sulak, who lives nearby.

Authorities said it is the only way they can close one massive gap.

This is unreal, unbelievably unreal how deep this hole is, said Mike Rehak, who also lives nearby. [The hole] is probably 100 feet deep.

I ve never seen anything like that, Sulak said. It s like our own private, little Grand Canyon that s formed.

Heavy weekend rain caused a pipe to burst. That pipe carried storm water runoff into the Brazos River. The break sent tides of water upstream. It turned a modest drainage ditch into a gorge filled with questions.

How much bigger can it get, Sulak asked. It s pretty close to the homes now.

I just wonder if that was a man-made ditch because that s a lot of sand, Rehak said. That s a lot of shifted sand. There s nothing solid there as far as you can see.

What we were concerned about was losing the bridge because that s our only way out, said Stuart James, a neighbor.

Drainage engineers saved the bridge and said an exposed natural gas line no longer poses risk. It was shut down.

Still, pieces of land continue to slide.

I was sick, said Alana Vanslyke, another neighbor. It bothered me. I ve worked on our yard for eight years.

Authorities insist dumping dirt and rock will solve their problem, as long as it doesn t rain hard. A downpour could cause flooding downstream or breach their new dam and carve a much deeper canyon.

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