Sinkhole repairs could take two more months

August 13, 2012 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The repair project at the 92nd Street sinkhole could take two more months before it’s finished, a city official told an emergency meeting of Community Board 10 meeting attended by more than 50 Bay Ridge residents.

James Roberts, deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, said that the ruptured sewer line that caused the sinkhole is buried 70 feet below ground — the equivalent of a seven-story building — which complicates the repair project.

“Excavating down 70 [feet] is a tricky process,” Roberts said. “It’s almost like a mining operation.”

The sinkhole formed on June 28. It was first discovered when it swallowed a tree in front of an apartment building at 278 92nd St.

DEP repair crews were at the site almost immediately to begin working. At this point, the repair crews have made their way down to where they are close to the sewer line.

“We’re almost there. We’re about one foot above the sewer,” Roberts said.

The repair project has cost more than $5 million so far and the costs are expected to go higher, officials said.

In order to maintain sewer service, DEP constructed a temporary bypass sewer to handle the flow of water and sewage. The 92nd Street sewer normally handles the sewage flow for a large swath of Brooklyn, stretching from Bay Ridge all the way to Marine Park, according to DEP officials.

The work has brought enormous inconveniences to residents living around the sinkhole site, Roberts acknowledged. Residents have had to put up with repair trucks, blocked-off streets, a lack of parking, as well as noise and dust.

“You guys have been great,” he said, thanking residents for their patience.

Community board officials also expressed sympathy for the residents.

“We understand the hardship experienced by this community,” Board 10 Chair Joanne Seminara said.

In an effort to ease the parking nightmare, alternate-side-of-the-street regulations have been temporarily suspended on 92nd Street between Colonial Road and Fourth Avenue, and on Third Avenue between 91st and 93rd streets.

Several people at the meeting expressed their frustration with what they perceive as a slow repair process.

“It should be in front of your house!” Mary Ann Cahill told Roberts.

But other residents were more sympathetic to the city.

“I think they’re doing the best they can,” Louis Volpe said. “You can’t clap your hands and expect it to be done just like that.”

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