Business says it's suffering from slow sinkhole repairs

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May 6, 2014 8:19:46 PM PDT
People living and working near a sinkhole in West Philadelphia say they finally have some relief.

It formed near 52nd Street and Haverford Avenue, and employees of a nearby pizza shop say it took weeks for crews to make the needed repairs.

The gaping sinkhole on Haverford Avenue and the maze of construction equipment and blockades has put a gaping hole in the profits of Pete's Pizza. Patrons must enter the shop through the kitchen, and employees say it's been that way for a month.

General manager David Whitaker explains, "I need the front fixed. I'm losing money. It's killing me financially."

Whitaker says profits are down 60 percent. He says the hole wasn't that large when the sewer line initially collapsed, but grew larger over the past few weeks.

"It appears to me that the city doesn't care about small businesses. We employ 25 people who live in this neighborhood, and it's getting worse and worse," Whitaker said.

Abdul Haqq, who works at Pete's Pizza, tells us, "I guess someone has to fall in there, get hurt, or a pedestrian come here, get hurt. Or a car fall down there for anything to happen."

Tuesday afternoon the back hoe was up and running and the hole was being filled.

The Philadelphia Water Department, who is overseeing the project, says this work was already scheduled. A spokesperson says the sewer collapsed three weeks ago and the department understands the frustration for area businesses.

Repairs of this kind take time. Other utilities had to remove their infrastructure so the Water Department could fix the sewer line. Then the other infrastructure had to be put back in.

Yesterday the Water Department says it got the clear to finish the work.

John DiGiulio from the Philadelphia Water Department says, "The process is the process. It's an unfortunate location, but we are going to work as quickly as we can and get these repairs done and we will have the sidewalk done as quickly as we can."

PWD says the repairs will likely be completed by the end of the week.


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