Residents demand city fix hazardous Auburndale road

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

For several years now, residents in Auburndale have been trying to get the city to cure its depression — a sinkhole on Francis Lewis Boulevard.

But calls for something to be done have brought no joy.

The 5-inch-wide by 5-inch-deep trench runs the length of Francis Lewis Boulevard between 50th and 53rd avenues and has plagued motorists and homeowners for more than five years.

“The depression started out as a small bump at first,” said Robert Veltri. “But over time it’s gotten so bad that every time a truck goes by it shakes the foundation of our home. We’ve had to move our bedroom to the back just so we can sleep.”

In 2013 the Department of Transportation (DOT) inspected the sinkhole adjacent to a manhole cover, deeming it a “depressed area,” according to DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall. Because of the proximity to the manhole and sewer line, DOT sent a repair request to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

But, residents observed, nothing has been done by any city agency.

“When big trucks go by, our furniture shakes,” another resident, Eileen Morrissey, said. “We can’t even stay in our house for too long. We pay too much in taxes to have this happening.”

Veltri and Morrissey contacted Councilman Mark Weprin to try to get repairs done. In a letter written earlier this year, Weprin asked the DEP to “take whatever measures are necessary to address Mr. Veltri’s concerns.”

In September, Weprin wrote to the Veltris and told them that the city was “currently looking into this case.”

The DEP, which has not responded to requests for comment on this story,  has yet to contact the Veltris regarding the letter.


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