Residents of the 1500 block of Philpot Avenue demonstrate how deep the two potholes on their street are currently.  John Henry Hunter, standing in the hole, said he has seen children fall in the hole and is worried about the street caving in completely. City officials with public works say the road is safe to drive around now. --Ashley Johnson
Residents of the 1500 block of Philpot Avenue demonstrate how deep the two potholes on their street are currently. John Henry Hunter, standing in the hole, said he has seen children fall in the hole and is worried about the street caving in completely. City officials with public works say the road is safe to drive around now. -- Ashley Johnson

Philpot Avenue residents expose pothole issue to city

Published 8:21pm Wednesday, July 24, 2013

John Henry Hunter was furious when he saw a child fall into a large pothole on his street. Last week while in his yard he said he saw a young girl who was riding a bicycle fall into the hole.

“I’m afraid someone is going to get hurt or killed,” said Hunter, who has lived on the street for years but said the two large pot holes have sat there at the intersection of Philpot Avenue and Lawrence Street for at least two years.

“The city hasn’t done a thing about it,” Lawrence said, but noted the city has kept large barrels on the holes. Hunter said he put out a large piece of wood to cover the hole after he saw children playing around them and one fell in.

Hunter said his worst fear is that a child playing or a car driving by will crash into the ground when the ground caves in completely — though city officials assure the street is safe to drive over, as long as the areas marked off with tape and barrels are avoided.

“Because you see the ground here is soft,” Hunter said. He steps into the hole and demonstrates that the area underneath the road is hollow.

“No, there is not a danger there,” Public Works director Tommy Smith said. “That’s why we put the barrels there around the specific holes, because if they will just drive on the other side of the holes, they won’t fall in.”

Smith said currently an engineer has inspected the area, surveying it to determine what needs to be done and how much it will cost to fix it. Once an estimate is given, Smith said he would go before the mayor and council to get the project approved.

As for the reason of the holes, Smith said a “cave-in on the sewage line has occurred.”

“There is terra cotta piping for the sewage line under there and if there is a crack or break somewhere in it, then the dirt and materials get washed down the system,” Smith explained about how the pot holes occurred.

Smith said he hopes that sometime next week the city will have price estimates and by sometime in August, the project will get rolling to fix the sewer lines and repair the holes.

“That project will be the first we attack once we get the funds for it,” Smith said. “It’s about 1,000 feet that needs to be replaced from First Avenue to Philpot and from Philpot Avenue to Martin Luther King Street.”

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