DURHAM, NC – Imagine living on a residential street that has had a huge sinkhole formed and then have to pay to fix the street.
This is something some people who live in the Bonnie Hills subdivision of northeast Durham County are grappling with, as a sink hole has taken up more than half the street and residents were never told the street was a private road when they moved.
People living on Kingston Avenue said the sinkhole problem started 7-10 years ago.
“The sinkhole started to expand and it only got worse over the years,” said Clay Clark, a subdivision resident.
Clark and several other local residents are concerned for their safety and the safety of others who are forced to travel this road every day.
“I find it quite dangerous at times,” said Haven Morales, a teenage girl who lives on Kingston Avenue with her family. “We drove over it and I’m scared that one day it might break, like the whole road, and someone might fall in the hole.
Another family sent CBS 17 video of a van actually falling into the hole.
Residents said the postman and garbage truck were forced to turn around and drive around the block to finish deliveries and pick up the garbage because they don’t want to drive over the hole. People living on the streets also worry about first responders getting to an emergency safely.
“Ambulances and fire engines, I don’t know how much they weigh, but what will the weight of one of these vehicles do when it impacts,” Clark said.
Clark said he contacted the North Carolina Department of Transportation to have the sinkhole repaired.
When he reached out to them, he was told that Kingston Avenue is not state maintained because decades ago the developer had never applied for the street to be state owned.
This means that the state is not responsible for road repairs and the responsibility for road repairs rests with the homeowners.
This is frustrating for homeowners who live on the street because they said they were never told it was a private street when they moved in. “We pay our taxes and our city water, just like any other neighbor,” said Patrick Bronson, who lives just outside the sinkhole.
“I don’t understand why they aren’t helping us,” Bronson said.
Clark agreed with Bronson. “The community played their part,” Clark said. “We’re just asking the state, county and city to stand up and do their part.”
CBS 17 reached out to NCDOT about these local residents’ concerns and to see if there were other options to have the road repaired.
John Sandor, an NCDOT engineer, said Durham County commissioners recently approved a new ordinance called the Orphan Road Program in February.
This program assists neighborhoods in repairing and transferring roads to NCDOT. “So the county is actually going to be working with the DOT to develop that list of repairs and some sort of cost,” Sandor said. “The county would actually fund that and fund it back through all homeowners.”
Sandor said such situations are more common than you might think.
“There are a lot of roads like this that fall into that category, but it’s usually when there’s an issue like this case with the sinkhole that they realize what the state of that road is in and who’s actually responsible for it,” Sandor said .
Call NCDOT at 1-877-368-4968 to report any issues or concerns about streets maintained by NCDOT or for more information on whether your county has an orphan street policy.
https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/durham-county-news/durham-homeowners-forced-to-pay-for-repairs-on-street-they-never-knew-was-private-after-sinkhole-opens/ Homeowners in Durham had to pay for repairs down the street that they never knew were private after the sinkhole opened