Whitestone resident calling for DOT and DEP to permanently fix huge recurring sinkhole

Courtesy of Joe Angenbroich

When Whitestone resident Joe AngenBroich opens his front door every morning, the first thing he sees is a huge sinkhole on the street, that has been a recurring problem for the past 10 years or so on the block, he says. 

The sinkhole, located at the corner of 17th Road and Murray Street, is formed every year during the summer, and AngenBroich says it’s time for the caved-in hole to be permanently fixed.

This past Thursday, the sinkhole was filled by a private company that was working down the block, AngenBroich said. 

(Courtesy of AngenBroich)

“The other day, a woman hit it and she blew out her tire and her front bumper fell off,” AngenBroich said. “I had a cone on the side of it and by the time I got home at 3 o’clock, more of it caved in so the cone was now inside the hole. Every single summer, they come, they patch it, people run over it. It sinks back in, they come again and fill it. It’s good for the winter, then summer comes and the hole opens back again because of the asphalt and heat.”

AngenBroich posted a video of the sinkhole on the We Love Whitestone Facebook group page, where residents agreed, saying, “It’s time for the repairs to be done the right way.”

Alfredo Centola, president of the We Love Whitestone Civic Association, said it’s the same issue residents have continuously dealt with every year, due to the possibility of a water leak beneath the sinkhole. 

“Sad that after a year the problem continues and it apparently is a borough-wide problem. Do we have to wait for an accident? Or worse?” Centola said. 

Other residents are calling out the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), who they say surveyed the area last year for a water leak in the sewer. So far, they haven’t heard back from DEP about the results of the test. 

In a statement to QNS, a DEP spokesman said, “Crews made a temporary repair to the roadway this afternoon to ensure the area is safe and engineers are reviewing the findings of their investigation and will formulate a plan for a permanent repair.”

According to AngenBroich, they have also filed complaints every year about the size and depth of the sinkhole to the Department of Transportation (DOT). 

“We call to file a complaint because DOT wants to hear what our complaint numbers are, but when we complain about the size of the hole they automatically forward us to 911, then it becomes an issue,” AngenBroich said. “This year, I’ve called at least four times, my parents have called maybe five to six times.” 

A crew arrived at the site Tuesday afternoon to fill the sinkhole. (Courtesy of AngenBroich)

AngenBroich has been in touch with Councilman Paul Vallone’s office about the issue and was recently told that they’re communicating with DOT and DEP to have the sinkhole fixed the correct way, he said. 

“I won’t really believe them because I’ve been arguing this every year,” AngenBroich said. “If that hole isn’t fixed you can literally get hurt bad. I can guarantee by the end of next week that hole will start caving in again. Throughout the years, people haven’t gotten hurt but their tires have been blown.” 

A spokeswoman from Vallone’s office told QNS that “after being alerted to the street condition at Murray Street and 17th Road, Councilman Vallone asked the DEP to expedite needed repairs at the location.” 

“On Monday, DEP confirmed a work order to repair the sewer was submitted to DEP Emergency Construction. Our office will continue to monitor the issue to see that the appropriate repairs are made,” the spokeswoman said. 

 AngenBroich said he hopes that everything gets fixed the right way. 

I feel like this is my responsibility because I’m the closest one to it. I just hope that they finally realize what the problem is and fix it the correct way, so we don’t have to deal with this anymore,” Angenbroich said.  

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