NEW ORLEANS (WWL)– A sinkhole opened up near Pontchartrain Park, partially swallowing a concrete truck that was filling a separate hole in the road.
It’s a neighborhood that had water over the roofs in Hurricane Katrina, but the homes have been rebuilt and homeowners say that it’s time the streets are too.
“What if that happened at night and a car went up in there?” said Sheila Hyde-Brown, a Pontchartrain Park Resident about the large hole near her house. “Somebody could have been seriously injured.”
Neighbors in Pontchartrain Park knew the day would come, when the badly battered streets would just open up and swallow something, but no one expect such irony. A concrete truck belonging to Landrieu Concrete, owned by the mayor’s cousin, was patching another hole, when a new one opened up. Neighbors say the axle broke and a crane had to pull it out.
“Good thing the school bus didn’t come down here that time of the morning, because, you know, it would have went down in the hole,” said Noelle Banks, a Pontchartrain Park resident.
“These are the holes that we have been complaining about to all of the city councils and everybody that we can complain to and they still refuse to do anything to help us,” said Audry Woods, President of Pontilly Neighborhood Association. ” A truck happened to fall in a pothole on Press Drive and that lady was completely shaken.”
The Sewerage and Water Board, and the city Department of Public Works came out and to inspect the sinkhole. Neighbors told them about nearly a decade of complaints and other concerns, such as the hole where children get off the school bus, the water that collects on their street whenever it rains, and the other sink hole that they filled on their own with dead shrubs and debris for safety.
“You call 311, and when you explain the problem to them they say, ‘Oh no, I’m sorry, it’s another department. Let me connect you over to Boh Brothers, or to Sewerage and Water Board.’ Then we call Sewerage and Water Board, ‘Oh no, that’s Public Works.’ It’s just a run around. You cannot get a straight answer. That goes on for weeks,” Hyde-Brown said
“We’re demanding that it starts this year because we’re afraid for our residents. We’re thinking one of the houses may cave in,” said Gretchen Bradford, President of the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association.
Neighbors are concerned the entire area is weak, especially coming in and out of driveways.
If drivers have reason to believe their vehicle has been damaged a by pothole, a claim form can be obtained from the City’s Risk Manager for reimbursement.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the City’s Department of Public Works has secured the area around the roadway collapse at 5017 Mexico St. in Pontchartrain Park. At this time, we are developing a strategy repair the roadway.”