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By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge — What a mess! The sinkhole that caused a cave-in on 92nd Street near Third Avenue is still the buzz of the neighborhood a week after its formation. Josephine Beckmann, district manager for Community Board 10, said the hole could take as long as two months to repair, and workers from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) were still busy at the scene this week.
Beckmann said a ruptured sewer line caused the sinkhole, but DEP spokesman Corey Chambliss would not confirm that a sewer break caused the problem.
“The precise cause is still under investigation,” he told the Eagle on Tuesday afternoon.
Chambliss did confirm that the sewer is more than 100 years old.
“The sewer was built in 1902,” he said.
Chambliss was more optimistic than Beckmann about the length of time needed for the repairs.
“Repair work will be complete within four weeks,” he predicted.
In addition to filling in the sinkhole on 92nd Street itself, the DEP workers are also addressing a section of Third Avenue near 92nd Street.
There is evidence that the situation is escalating beyond Third Avenue and 92nd Street. State Sen. Marty Golden said DEP is going to have to dig a trench along 92nd Street from Fourth Avenue all the way to Ridge Boulevard in order to address the problem.
Eleven families were temporarily evacuated from a nearby apartment building after the sinkhole opened up. The residents were allowed to return to their apartments within a few hours on June 28, authorities said.
The block of 92nd Street between Third Avenue and Ridge Boulevard has been closed to vehicular traffic since the emergency began. The traffic ban is expected to be in place for weeks, Beckmann said.
Gas and other utilities had to be turned off for a short time, but services were eventually restored, according to Chambliss.
“The site is stabilized and all residents currently have all utility services,” he said.
The sinkhole swallowed a tree that had been standing on the sidewalk, according to local residents.
The emergency started out as an investigation into why the tree appeared to be sinking, Beckmann said.
Board 10 member Eleanor Schiano, a property owner on the block, called Beckmann to report that a tree on the sidewalk looked like it was sinking into the ground.
Beckmann contacted officials from the city’s Parks Department who met her at the scene for an on-site inspection.
“When I got there, they told me, ‘Ms. Beckmann, it’s not us. Call DEP.’ I looked into the hole and there was nothing there — literally, nothing. It was a gigantic hole. You could see all the way to the foundation of Paneantico across the street,” she said.