Gentilly street collapses beneath the weight of cement truck

Cement Truck Falls in Pothole in Pontchartrain Park

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A cement truck's tires got stuck in a hole on a Gentilly street Friday morning, and residents say they all saw it coming.

Patches of asphalt only hide the problem that Jeffrey Watts knew was lurking at the end of his driveway on Mexico Street.

"All up under here is hollow from erosion under the street," he said.

On Thursday the problem hit a new low as the street buckled beneath the weight of a concrete truck. Residents watching the scene unfold said it was just a matter of time.

"This street has never been repaired," said Sheila Hyde Brown. "It's been patched up, you know, we have cracks all up in the street. We have water bubbling up, another crack that just started."

"The whole stretch to down there," said Watts, pointing. "See the trash in the hole there? It's about 10 tires in there, tree limbs."

Watts said the renovation of Pontchartrain Park after Katrina took a tremendous toll.

"When they were doing construction in the golf course, the heavy trucks were coming in and made it worse," Watts said.

And there's an irony in all of this. Members of the Public Works crew said they were out here patching this hole today before their cement truck fell in down the street.

A crane finally lifted the truck out of the massive rut. Workers arrived on the scene to survey the new damage and address residents' concerns. The city workers said poor drainage caused the ground to erode beneath the street. Neighbors said they've complained for years, asking for a permanent solution.

"This started coming right after the hurricane, but it was smaller," Hyde Brown said. "With time it got larger and larger. You know, we try our best to contain it, but you know we don't pay money for this. You know, I pay my taxes. This should not have to be."

And until this problem is solved, baracades will go up and residents will play the waiting game, hoping this hole is the final straw that will bring lasting change.

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