A sink hole repair in the Indian Hills section of Portsmouth will cost the city $100,000, according to Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen.
On Wednesday night at approximately 7 o’clock, Allen received word that a FedEx truck had fallen through a driveway on North Hill Road.
He said when he arrived it was discovered that there was a 10 foot deep sink hole which was approximately 15 feet in diameter. His staff was unaware of any pipe in the driveway or yard of the house, which is located at 3161 North Hill Road.
On Thursday, city employees excavated the bottom of the hole to look for where the dirt went and discovered a 36-inch corrugated steel pipe that was rotten and had collapsed on itself.
Allen said the pipe appears to have been installed when the neighborhood was built in the 1960s and was the location of a former creek. The pipe goes between the houses at 3161 and 3159 North Hill Road and the pipe comes out behind the house at 3332 Old Post Road.
Allen said city staff sent a sewer camera up the pipe and found it to be rusted and ready to collapse in other areas. He said there are sink holes behind 3124 North Hill Road and a review of city maps indicates there is no easement for the pipe.
Allen said the pipe does not show up on storm sewer maps and while it is debatable the city would be responsible, since there is no easement and the city had no knowledge of the pipe, there is no one else to fix the situation. He said argument could be made the city accepted the responsibility when it accepted the Indian Hills Subdivision back on May 6, 1965.
Allen went on to say there is no way the city can repair the damage because the equipment will not fit between the two hiouses and the backyard is very wet and full of trees which have grown over the location of the pipe. Once the pipe rusts out the bottom loses structural integrity and cannot be lined.
Allen said the ballpark estimated at this time is $100,000 which he says will have to come out of Capital Improvement Fund 301.
“This is why we never want to spend all of the Capital Improvement money,” Allen said. “This is an emergency and I have already instructed Distel Construction to do the work.”
They began the work Monday morning. On Monday, a contractor’s crews were busy clearing the site to begin the work of relocating the pipe down North Hill Road to a piece of property owned by the city which looks like a driveway near the apartments.
Distel will lay approximately 500 feet of 36-inch pipe. There will also have to be three manhole structures installed.
An emergency ordinance was to be presented to City Council Monday night and the city is expected to waive the requirement to bid a project with an estimate over $50,000.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.