Local pol pens plea to DOT in fear of sinkholes

Less than one month since a 30-foot sinkhole swallowed the better part of a Sunset Park intersection, one local pol has penned a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) demanding that a bevy of overlooked potholes and street depressions be re-examined in fear that her district, and its neighboring ones, are next.

“I think what happened in Sunset Park was alarming and we certainly want to prevent that from happening in other areas,” Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis told this paper. “This community has been notifying both the community board and 311 about these depressions and it seems DOT has not taken action.”

On Tuesday, August 18, Malliotakis penned a letter to DOT’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray informing him of a number of streets that are a cause for concern.

“There are various depressions in particular that have the community rightfully worried,” she wrote, citing the Sunset Park cave-in at 46th Street and Fifth Avenue – which will see repairs well through November, according to DOT – as a worst-case-scenario her constituents shouldn’t have to endure. “We should not ignore a potentially major problem until someone gets hurt.”

Malliotakis, who represents parts of Bay Ridge and Staten Island, also drew attention to a lack of proper infrastructure along with what many residents claim to be “quick fixes” by DOT.

“I think they need to look at the quality of the asphalts that we’re using,” she said. “We want something that’s going to last longer because there’s a lot of wear and tear on the roads – especially during the winter months – and maybe if we had better material used, we wouldn’t have to constantly be doing repairs.”

Specifically, Malliotakis cited a list of 14 questionable sites – many, if not all of them already inspected by DOT – compiled by members of Community Board 10 in wake of the Sunset Park sinkhole.

“It appears as though only temporary repairs have been made at these locations,” Malliotakis wrote, urging DOT to take a second look at these sites – among them, 78th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and 76th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

“We certainly don’t want what happened in Sunset Park to occur in other parts of the community so we’re going to really push DOT,” the pol told this paper. “These depressions should be looked at and rectified.”

Until then, Malliotakis isn’t the only one worried.

“In the case of the Sunset Park sinkhole, if you [look at] Google Earth, you can see the actual outline of the sinkhole from the street defects that were [there] a year ago,” said Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann. “We have a number of locations in Board 10 that match that description, and we thought it was a good time to put those together for DOT.

“A bunch of these streets keep depressing and re-depressing, caving in and re-caving in,” she went on, “[who] is going to be handling it?”

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