More homes affected by sinking streets in southwest Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

City takes blame as more homes are affected by sinking streets in southwest Lubbock

By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The city says it is to blame for parts of 98th Street sinking and cracking. That's why it has now purchased two dozen properties in south Lubbock.

Back in April, the city thought they may only have to purchase two to three homes. Now 26 properties later and it's an even bigger problem than expected.

We are doing our due diligence, we are taking responsibility because we feel like we caused "the problem out there for that part of it," said city of Lubbock Director of Public Works Marsha Reed.

On 98th Street from Huron Avenue to Albany Avenue about a mile stretch, 23 homes and three vacant lots have now been purchased by the city.  This problem stems from the improper placement of a sanitary sewer line more than a decade ago.

"The scope has grown dramatically, the number of homes has grown extensively as well," said Reed.   

When 98th Street was cracking and sinking for the first time, about five years ago, the city spent $4.5-million trying to fix the line.

S.J. Lewis out of Dallas was the original contractor for the sewer line project back in 1998.

"Honestly the mistake was not made by the contractor, it would be easy if it were, the mistake was made by the plans that were done at that time, they did not require mechanical compaction or really much testing," said Reed.

Keri Pierce lives in one of the purchased 23 homes. She has lived on 98th street and Colton Avenue for the last ten years.

"It's really ok with me, the city has been real fair. They are paying for the movers, and except for the regular stress of moving that we would have if we were moving for any other reason, it's not that big of a deal, really," said Pierce.

But for people like Wendy Babcock there are worries. She lives on 98th street and Juneau Avenue, and is in the middle of trying to sell.

"It's not a bad street to live on, but with the concerns with the road and the other houses being sold, it's a very big concern for me," said Babcock.

While the city is not purchasing her house, she has noticed it is sinking on one side.

"I don't want to be put under the stigma, that 'oh you're a part of the sinking ship' so to speak and then the city doesn't take care of us," said Babcock.

Once all the homes are demolished, the city plans to start re-construction in late spring. Right now $7.8-million is budgeted for this project expected to take a year and a half.



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