Pothole causing serious damage to cars

July 14, 2008

‘Huge trench’ is ‘axle-breaking bad’

By Jonathan Edwards

Paint scrapes and metallic grooves mark the foot-wide, six-inch-deep trench stretching across the 4200 block of St. Peter Street. It is causing significant damage to passing cars, residents fear.

Wanda O’Shello lives next to the pothole. She has already put a garbage can wrapped in bright yellow caution tape to warn drivers of the “ravine.” She was planning a grander gesture as soon as she finished mowing her lawn Monday morning, a sign welcoming drivers to the Grand Canyon.

People can see the pothole during the day, O’Shello said, but at night she hears them scraping the undercarriage of their cars all night. “I can’t imagine they’re not doing serious damage.”

Amy Rini has already done that damage to her car. “Over the past few days, the trench has deepened, and yesterday, going as slow as possible, I still scraped the underbody of my car.”

Lisha Troncoso, like O’Shello, lives next to the trench. She said the Sewerage and Water Board tore up the street to fix a broken water main about two months ago. After they finished repairs, they filled the hole with sand.

But rains washed the sand away, “and the hole gets deeper and deeper and deeper,” Troncoso said.

As of Sunday morning, Mark Folse said it was “axle-breaking bad.”

Troncoso called to file a complaint two weeks ago, and the S&WB told her that the city had hired a contractor to fix the pothole. They could not tell her when the work would be completed.

“I don’t ever drive that way down the street anymore,” said Troncoso. “I drive the wrong way (down the one-way street). They’re ripping the bottoms of their cars up. It’s ridiculous.”

Multiple residents have reported the pothole to New Orleans’s beleaguered 311 phone system. Those residents said operators estimated it would take the city four to six weeks to repair.

All circuits were busy for both the S&WB and 311 when contacted for this story.