Watch for that Hole in the Road!
The first thought upon approaching the intersection of Garden and Blaine streets on recent days is inevitably “Wow, that is one big pothole.”
The next thought that immediately follows the first is “Wow, that is one big and dangerous pothole.”
“Somebody could get killed,” said Larry Carrigan on Monday, who came upon the rather large and poorly protected street crater at the residential intersection on Saturday, promptly photographed it from every conceivable angle and e-mailed the pictures to the Journal Star. “It’s ridiculous they left it like that. This is unbelievable.”
The hole, big enough and deep enough to inter a Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, appeared Friday. It covers the entire northbound section of the two-way Blaine Street, forcing motorists to drive around it in the oncoming traffic lane when turning right off of the well-traveled Garden Street. There’s already garbage — a Cheetos bag and water bottle are easy to spot — littering the bottom of the pit.
It’s not a massive pothole at all, rather the result of a dig by Illinois-American Water Co. workers to fix a broken valve. That project was part of a bigger problem in the area — a water main break a month ago in the nearby 1200 block of Greenlawn Avenue and the subsequent replacement of 36 feet of pipe, according to Pat Langan, operations supervisor for the water company.
For Carrigan and residents in the area, it’s not the big hole in the street so much as it is the big hole that’s barely blocked off from traffic. The hole is ringed by six orange-and-white metal construction sawhorses that encroach into Garden Street and are linked by a single strand of yellow “caution” tape that wouldn’t hold back a modest breeze. There is no sign on Garden or Blaine closing a lane of traffic or warning in advance of the hole up ahead.
“I’m in construction and obviously there are ways to make a site like this more safe,” Carrigan said. “There was obviously no urgency to get this cleaned up.”
Litisha Davis lives nearby.
“I’ve got little kids. I walk through here every day,” Davis said as she waited for a bus near the western rim of the big hole Monday morning. “There’s no excuse. They should be out here right now getting this fixed up.”
They did come later in the day, three days after the hole was initially dug. The company contracted to fill the hole and replace the street surface dumped some dirt in the hole, but not all the way to the top.
Langan said the hole is a temporary problem.
“The contractor should be in there getting it repaired,” Langan said. “Probably in a day or two.”
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or at email@example.com.God Bless, The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie