I-TEAM: Massive road holes create dangers for drivers, kids on bikes
Neighbors: City ignored warning calls until I-TEAM stepped in
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two women trying to protect their families and neighbors turned to the I-TEAM for help to get two massive holes that opened in two Jacksonville streets on two different sides of town. Both started as potholes, but were ignored for so long, they grew into gaping road hazards.
Road hole near downtown
"We are just worried someone is going to get hurt," said Robin Daniels as she stood with the I-TEAM outside Carlstedt's Wholesale Florist on Dennis Street at the intersection of Watts Street near downtown Jacksonville.
We estimate the hole is at least 5-feet wide and 6-feet deep -- so deep it has swallowed two metal barricade signs that fell inside. We also noticed a pipe at the bottom of the hole with water dripping out of it.
"They repaired it once, but after two months it opened up again and I can't get anyone out here to fix it," Daniels said, explaining what happened when she called the city of Jacksonville to complain. "Oh my gosh, we get sent to three different people. ‘We don't handle that department, you need to call this number.’ We call that department and it just shuffles back and forth."
Daniels told us she started calling 911 after no one from the city would repair it. She was worried a walker or bicyclist would fall in.
“Somebody's not going to know it's here, someone who is not from around here and they're going to get hurt bad," she said.
Road hole in Westside neighborhood
The I-TEAM discovered another large road hole after responding to a tip from a woman whose mother lives on Limoges Drive at the corner of Lorient Drive off Normandy Boulevard.
"It's much larger than it was, it was only this big around when it started and I want to say it's been almost a year," explained Gracie Jeffers, who was not the one who reported the hole to us, but has complained about it to the city.
We measured this road hole too. It's 6-feet wide and about 5-feet deep. Jeffers said it was initially the size of a dinner plate.
She told the I-TEAM she called the city several times to report the hole as it grew larger and larger, but each time she said she was told it would be about a year before it would be repaired. We asked her the reason given for the delay, and she said the city never told her.
"Kids were jumping in and out of the hole," described Jeffers' nephew, Henry Hunt, who said he also called the city of Jacksonville's information number, 630-CITY, several times to report the danger.
Both Hunt and Jeffers said they felt like their complaints were ignored.
"I called the city downtown and whoever answers, I would tell them about it," explained Jeffers. My neighbors did too and a friend of mine down the street did, but we haven't had anything done."
The I-TEAM gets results
The I-TEAM contacted the city of Jacksonville to find out why these large holes in the road haven't been fixed.
Tia Ford, a spokesperson for the mayor's office, confirmed to us the city's public works department was notified last July about the hole on Limoges Drive and told us in a statement:
"The reason for the long delay was the number of repair projects needed throughout the city that resulted in damage from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma."
Our complaint was taken seriously, and in less than two weeks after contacting Ford at the mayor’s office, city workers filled the hole with gravel and told the I-TEAM the final repair requires replacing a deteriorated metal pipe that has collapsed due to age and condition. That project is anticipated to begin within 30 days, Ford wrote.
Jeffers said she believes the I-TEAM's questions to the city is the reason the hole was finally filled after nearly a year.
"Much appreciate it," she told us.
Hole near downtown
Within six days of sending the mayor’s office a picture of the hole in the street outside where Daniel's works, city workers filled that one, too.
Robin Daniels said she does not know why it took six months, but she was grateful to the I-TEAM for getting answers from the city.
"Thank you," she said.
Disparity in the number of complaints
Ford said the city received one complaint about the hole Daniels said she reported each week for months. Ford was unable to explain why there was such a disparity in the number of registered complaints and the number of calls Daniels said she made.
We discovered a similar disparity in calls Jeffers and her Westside neighbors said they made to the city compared to the number of complaints the city told us it received.
The city could not explain the difference. For that reason, you should know, if you have a pothole near your home or work, you should call the same number to report it: 630-CITY.
- Be sure you are given a "Care Issue Number" each time you call
- Keep track of that number so the I-TEAM can hold the city accountable
If you are having trouble getting a pothole fixed within a reasonable amount of time, you can reach the I-TEAM by calling or texting 479-NEWS or you can email us at ITEAM@News4Jax.com.
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