Saturday, April 29, 2006
SINKHOLE REDUX 4/29
After the sink hole was "repaired" by the excavation crew, a few days later on April 28th, the drilling rig resumed boring again in the exact same place as before, directly behind the telephone pole. The previous day they had backfilled the original hole as directed by the Brooklyn Department of Buildings. This time before beginning, they pounded two sections of square steel pipe vertically along the lot line and placed a small section of steel plate behind them. On Saturday morning the ground had again shifted so that the damaged sinking section of the retaining wall was now just visible. The telephone utility pole was also compromised again at the base. The pole itself was a few feet shorter, having sunk some.
The drilling rig had been left in place with the boring shaft lowered into a hole left about 6 feet square. There must have been a void remaining beneath that corner of the yard as the ground continued to sink, this time an additional two feet. The construction fence was still bulging a bit at the base and you could look down into the hole where the rig was parked. It seemed that the pressure against the steel plate was too great and the two supporting square steel pipes had been forced backward, allowing some of the ground to shift and fall into the hole. You can see the tread parked at the edge of the hole.
On Saturday afternoon I called 311 again and made a repeat complaint. I made sure that the operator understood that this was additional damage caused after the first repairs had been made to correct the DoB violation from earlier in the week. Complaint #318-9228. When you call 311 to make a complaint, they have a nasty habit of not taking multiple complaints for the same problem. It is important to insist that the complaint be recorded. In this case the Department of Buildings inspector couldn't find any additional damage. If he showed up late in the day, he would not have seen the crew re-repairing the previous weeks repair that morning. End result= complaint "RESOLVED". You see this kind of thing alot with DOB complaints.
Early on Monday, May Ist, the excavation crew removed the fence and refilled the sink hole in my yard for the second time. They removed the broken cinder block wall and secured the utility pole. The pole was now a good 8 feet shorter with the cables running to our house now sitting on top of the shrubbery. They fixed the fence again as well.
I called Time Warner Cable and Verizon. When you call the 718 area code number for Time Warner service requests you get an operator who can't help you because she is in Canada. They can give you one free month of Cinemax, however, for your troubles. Soft Porn, Time Warner believes, has a soothing, balm-like effect on angry customers. If your pole is about to fall over call 311 and they will connect you with a service person at Verizon. Verizon 'owns' the poles. Verizon came out right away sending no less than three different crews. Here is their policy concerning construction. If the pole is in no danger of falling and there is ongoing construction, they usually wait until the entire building construction is finished. After seeing the condition of the block they decided to have an engineer come out and draft a new plan for the entire street. There are three projects currently going on at this time. It may be more than a year before Verizon gets around to rewiring the block.
Now what to do about the damage? Everyone is advising me to hire a lawyer. My feelings about the repairs is that it doesn't pay to make them until this foundation is finished. There is a new problem in that my weeping juniper won't stop weeping. All that Earth sinking has left my tree leaning drastically against the telephone pole. Maybe there is a way to upright the tree without killing it. My neighbors are very worried about what will happen when they start working behind their properties. In the mean time, they have given up drilling behind the telephone pole and are now headed in the opposite direction towards the street. They have successfully bored and placed about eight pilings.