For $1M, Kingston lawmakers want sinkhole fix to be permanent
KINGSTON — Homes along a section of Washington Avenue are being inspected this week in preparation for repairs to a sinkhole that opened there earlier this year.
City Engineer Ralph Swenson said he expects to appear before the Common Council’s Finance/Economic Development Committee on June 13 to recommend the city borrow $1 million for work to stop the hole from expanding.
Alderman Thomas Hoffay, who chairs the committee, said Swenson will have to convince council members that the fix will be permanent.
“He better have one hell of a plan laid out because with that kind of investment, there should be a solution to this problem,” said Hoffay said, D-Ward 2.
Swenson said four homes in the immediate vicinity of the sinkhole, near Linderman Avenue, are being inspected to check for existing damage. He said the inspections are designed to collect evidence if homeowners claim damage from the sinkhole repair.
Swenson said any damage detected now would not have been caused by work at the site because there have been no previous claims of structural damage.
“The reason why we want to do inspections is because we have soil destabilization, and it has a fairly large radius of influence, and we want to be sure that we are not (unnecessarily) accused of damage to homes,” Swenson said.
Swenson said the opening of the sinkhole already has caused some damage to water pipes in the area and threatens other infrastructure, including natural gas lines.
He has called the danger a “managed threat.”
Swenson said the city’s Office for Economic Development is working to secure grant money for the sinkhole work. Continued...
He said the repair will include relining 160 feet of a tunnel beneath Washington Avenue that carries stormwater to the Esopus Creek, and possibly creating a piping system to better manage water flow from the nearby Tannery Brook.
“It’s a difficult, confined space due to its remote location, atmospheric hazard and danger of engulfment from flash flooding,” Swenson said of the work area. “Right now, we’re looking at $1 million plus a contingency of 20 percent, but it’s all very preliminary until we get bids.”
Common Council President James Noble, a plumber by trade, said the cost probably will be higher. Temporary repairs and studies already have cost the city $250,000.
The sinkhole is the second to open in the same spot within a year, forcing a traffic detour.
Washington Avenue is closed to all but local traffic and delivery vehicles from Linderman Avenue to the Boulevard (state Route 32).
It remains unclear how long the closure will remain in effect, but Swenson said it will be for an extended period.
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