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12 ON YOUR SIDE

Sinkholes repaired

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By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – In one day 12 On Your Side was able to fix a drainage problem plaguing two Chesterfield neighbors for a year, but then Mother Nature stepped in. 

The problem was dangerous sinkholes in the Scottingham neighborhood. We got them fixed in 24 hours. But then came the thunderstorms. 

VDOT agreed to meet us at the problem site at 1:30 last Thursday afternoon, but it sent out a crew at 7:00 a.m. that day, 6 and a half hours before our scheduled meeting. Luckily we got pictures of the problem the day before, and from what residents say they had cause for concern; especially if a gully washer hits. 

"It doesn't come down and is static. It's swirling," said neighbor Barbara Gestwick. "The water goes down and fills that catch basin and into the street and will go across the street." 

"This side had a bigger hole and the kids started playing in it and with the school bus, being down here is not safe," neighbor Laura Mintz said. 

VDOT backfilled two sinkholes with crushed stone and rocks and promises to monitor the roadside ditch for future erosion. Residents are elated yet skeptical. 

"As you can see, you all called this morning and it's fixed. That's great," said Mintz. "However one good rain and all this work is going to be gone." 

Sure enough last Thursday's storm blew in, and washed out all the gravel the same day causing more erosion. But VDOT was back on it making repairs so it won't happen again. VDOT says the problem would have been fixed long ago, they just didn't know about it and claim residents didn't follow protocol. 

"There's perhaps been a bit of a misunderstanding as to what the citizens concerns truly were. We resolved one issue earlier or approaching resolving one issue and perhaps this one was not fully understood," said VDOT Maintenance Manager Dale Totten. 

Residents say VDOT was informed a year ago, through a letter from Delegate Manoli Loupassi -- he asked for help on their behalf. Mintz says Chesterfield County addressed one problem but VDOT did not. 

"We called in 2009 wrote a letter in the fall of 2009 VDOT was given a letter saying we had this sink hole problem and nobody's addressed it," she said. "I don't think it would have been fixed if we had not called you truthfully." 

VDOT says the best way to report a problem and get results is to contact their 24 hour call center. That number is 800-367-ROAD. 

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