City Promises to Fix Recurring Inwood Pothole

By Nigel Chiwaya on May 20, 2013 1:28pm | Updated on May 20, 2013 4:03pm

 Residents say that the sinkhole is so deep that it is usually blocked off with a cone or a trash can.
Residents say that the sinkhole is so deep that it is usually blocked off with a cone or a trash can.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

INWOOD — The city is promising to finally fix a gaping Inwood sinkhole that residents say has been a problem for years.

Hours after DNAinfo New York inquired about the pothole outside the Inwood Post Office on West 204th Street and Vermilyea Avenue, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Environmental Protection said that the hole would be permanently fixed by Saturday.

"DEP has already scheduled a final repair by the end of the week," spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla said.

The pothole has been giving residents and motorists a headache for more than four years, locals said. They insist the city has done little to permanently fill it in.

"This is an annual occurrence," said resident Edward Power. "Every year they put more blacktop on it but then it sinks right back down."

Residents say the sinkhole is so big that a trash can from the corner is usually placed over it to warn oncoming vehicles.

"Usually it's a cavern," Power, 64, added. "There's just big hole and you can look down 3 or 4 feet."

Records from the city's 311 database show three service requests have been placed for the sinkhole since April 18. The city Department of Transportation filled in the sinkhole in April, but the hole has since opened right back up.

"I'd say the hole was fixed in about 48 hours," said resident B.J. Enright, who filed the 311 complaint in April after noticing the sinkhole in March. "Pretty quick, which I was happy about — but the asphalt fell back down into the hole about two weeks afterward."

Padilla told DNAinfo New York that the hole was caused by a faulty catch basin connection and that crews would fill in the hole with additional asphalt Monday night. The catch basin connection would be repaired by next Saturday, she said.

A DOT spokesman did not have information on hand about the sinkhole when contacted by DNAinfo New York Monday morning.

The spokesman, however, added that the DEP is usually charged with repairing sinkholes.

 Residents say that the Vermilyea Avenue sinkhole has been a problem for years.
Residents say that the Vermilyea Avenue sinkhole has been a problem for years.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

Sinkholes are a common problem on Vermilyea Avenue. Last year, a hole near West 207th Street drew attention when the Fire Department attempted to "fix" it by placing a table over the opening.

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