LINCOLNTON, N.C. – A Lincolnton grandmother said she was mowing her lawn last weekend when the ground literally opened up and she nearly fell, with her mower into a sinkhole.
Today that hole appears to be about four feet wide and at least eight feet deep.
Carolyn Bradshaw believes the sink hole is a result of a storm drain on Congress Street where she lives.
“The piping is rusted and corroded and it is causing the whole yard to just wash away,” said Bradshaw.
She called the city and an engineer came out, “and he said it was not his problem.”
She said he told her the sink hole is more than five feet from the road and that it is her responsibility to fix.
Her granddaughter Tiffany Thomas pointed out how the water from the street flows down through a 24-inch pipe and then down a concrete covered ditch to a catch basin at the bottom of a hill.
The entire thing is on Bradshaw’s property and Thomas says the city should help.
“With my grandmother living here 33 years, what is she paying taxes for if they are not going to help her fix something that they installed themselves?”
Steve Peeler from the Lincolnton Public Works Department said no one knows who put the drainage system in.
He said it could have been the state Department of Transportation that formerly maintained Congress Street until the city took it over about 15 years ago.
That’s when it became a city right of way and the city’s responsibility for maintaining it end five feet from the road and just inches away from the first sink hole.
“I have no equipment to fix it and I have no finances,” said Bradshaw as she looked down into the hole.
She and her granddaughter bought yellow tape to put up as a warning around the hole.
The city says there are perhaps as many as a dozen other homes with ancient storm drains that need work but because the damage is on private property, the city won’t help.