Part of 98th Street sinking; some residents may be displaced - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/8/10

Part of 98th Street sinking; some residents may be displaced

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By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Around 98th and Elkhart, the street is sinking and cracking, all because of the improper placement of a sanitary sewer line, more than a decade ago.

Part of the street has already been blocked off from drivers, and city officials worry homes could be in danger next.

Ken Keeler has only lived in his home on the corner of 98th and Elkhart for the last six months. Not too long ago, he noticed part of 98th Street cracking.

"Probably a month ago or so, I didn't think too much about it, I just saw them there," said Keeler.

And while there is a vacant lot between 98th Street and his house, he recently noticed a crack on the side of his garage.

"It gets my attention," said Keeler.

On Thursday, Mayor Tom Martin says in 1998 the sanitary sewer line was not constructed properly, and for the third time in several years a section of 98th Street will once again need repairs.

"We've got a lot of engineering to do and a lot of investigation to see how far this goes," said Martin.

But Martin says some homeowners in the area could be forced to sell their house to the city.

"If we have to purchase the homes, we probably have to demolish the homes and then go in and do the soil testing and maybe have to redo some excavate, again we don't know at this point, but it's possible we have to excavates this area then re-compact it to where it would be suitable for re-develop in the future," said Martin.

About five years ago 98th Street was experiencing the same problem, so the city spent $4.5 million to remediate the line, this includes 98th and Slide running west towards Milwaukee, and then north to Marsha Sharp Freeway.

"If they weren't done the way they should be done, they come back to bite you in the future and this is one of those situations, but we are going to fix it and then we will worry about some of the legal ramifications as we go on," said Martin.

Charles Sutherland has lived in his home on the corner of 98th and Dover for the last eight years. He says he started having problems with his home a few years ago.

"It started right after they started working on that road," said Sutherland.

He says he worries the settling soil has caused his foundation to crack, and he's ready to move on.

"As far as the city buying it or whoever buys it, I've been looking already for another house," said Sutherland.

At this time, city officials believe the settling soil May only affect 2 to 3 homes in that area.

The city streets department says a new work contract will be presented to city council at their next meeting.

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