Augusta road sinkholes raise traffic concerns

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 13, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---There could be trouble brewing under the streets of Augusta. At least three sink holes have surfaced recently, and the city is resting on old water lines.

"It's past time to do something," said Anthony Ferris. He is a concerned driver after not one but three cases of the ground giving away in Augusta. Ferris says it's time for the city to act.

"There's no need to tear the roads out and stop the traffic from going unless you really have a bad problem," said Paul West, the former plumbing inspector for Richmond County.

The city pipes are old, but the question is: how old is too old?

"They don't forecast more than 50 to 100 years. Infrastructure does need to be replaced, don't get me wrong. I'm not gonna say the stuff is gonna last forever," said Wes Byne, assistant Engineering director.

To shed some light on things, we uncovered pipes that were put in in 1923. It would cost $28,000 just to replace a small portion of the pipe.

"It's a situation where if we don't deal with it now it's just gonna get worse, and we've seen enough sink holes to know that it's a problem that needs to be looked at," said Ferris.

News 12 also found clay pipes, and if you think that's interesting there are wooden pipes out there too.

"They hollowed out the log and those things are still underground. Some of them are still operational." said West. But that's certainly not the standard we would have today, right? "No, no, no."

"You can't live your life afraid to go to work or go out and go to a restaurant is how I look at it. If it's gonna happen it's gonna happen," said D. Bruker, who works in Augusta.

So is there a need for concern? "That's a tough question because I would be but then I wouldn't be," said West.

"There's always issues in the city. There's always infrastructure problems, but you are safe in the city of Augusta," Byne said.

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