Washington Avenue sinkhole causing problems in Kingston
A persistent sinkhole in Kingston is causing an inconvenience for both residents and business owners. A section of the road is closed off, causing traffic to pile up. YNN's Alexandra Weishaupt reports.
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KINGSTON, N.Y. – “Business, you need traffic. Your location, location, location is everything and when this type of situation occurs, it becomes very stressful,” said Renato DiBella, pizza shop owner.
DiBella says he isn’t getting the traffic he needs because of an expanding sinkhole on Washington Avenue. A one block stretch on the street has been closed indefinitely for more than a month now.
“The road is affecting me. It’s affecting quite a few people for that matter,” DiBella said.
DiBella says his lunch crowd has dwindled and his business is feeling the effects of the road closure. He says although the city put up signs to relieve pressure, it’s an inconvenience for people to come around the detours to fill his tables
“That’s business. You have your ups and you have your downs,” DiBella said.
But down at the sinkhole, things are in disrepair.
“The sinkhole is really a reflection of loss of material underground,” said city engineer Ralph Swenson.
And because of that, Swneson says the sinkhole could pose potential problems for underground pipes, including gas, water and sewer lines.
The engineer says efforts to repair the sinkhole could cost approximately $1 million. The Office of Economic Development is looking into federal grants to help with the cost. But getting the money for the project, plus all the pre-construction planning that needs to happen, means there isn't a quick fix.
“One difficult art of the works is going to be to clearing the tunnel and that’s a remote location a confined space, dangerous, so we have to get some specialized tunnel workers there to shore up the tunnel,” Swenson said.
Then they can build a piping system to reinforce that tunnel and still maintain a pipe network for storm water. Swenson says they are doing the best they can to keep the community informed
“We didn’t want to really alarm the public, but it’s just a concern that we have and a threat right now that’s being managed,” said Swenson.
“One day, everything will go back to its original form and we’ll all be happy again,” DiBella said.
This isn't the first sinkhole problem. Last summer, the city dealt with a sinkhole in the exact same spot.