Alief residents concerned about massive sinkhole

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Homeowners in an Alief-area neighborhood have a sinking feeling about what's happening on their street.

Driving by the sinkhole may seem like just a little bump on Belle Park Drive.

"When it floods it gets full and deeper and deeper," Salvador Velasco Jr. said.

Look a little closer and there's a serious problem that goes far beneath the sidewalk.

"A bunch of stuff has fallen in there, debris," Velasco Jr. added.

It's like a small cave under the sidewalk that neighbors say is growing every days.

"You don't know what's going to happen, kids like to play," Velasco Jr. said. The residents say their calls to the city have gone unanswered.

"They didn't come in and take care of what we asked them to do," John Pham said.

Residents say they are the ones who put plywood in place to protect the neighborhood. They claim the problem started in their Alief neighborhood more than a year ago when city crews worked on the street and sewers. The sinkhole kept getting bigger. Trash and debris started piling up. It's more than an eyesore to them, but a danger.

"There's a lot of kids who walk through the sidewalk here, possibility they might fall down in here," Pham said.

A city worker examined the hole Wednesday and put caution tape around the area but work hasn't started yet to repair it.

"Fix it right, they need to fix it right," Velasco Jr. said.

Some of the neighbors say it goes even deeper than a safety concern because it's affecting their homes.

"It's all slanted," Velasco Jr. said. He tells abc13 his doors won't close and foundations are cracked. He says the entire house is shifting towards the street and an insurance adjuster claimed the sinkhole was to blame adding, "It's all tied together."

The neighbors say they shouldn't have to wait another day while the problem gets worse.

"We've got the biggest pothole in the city and they aren't doing anything," Velasco Jr. said. "We need justice, justice for everybody."

A spokesperson for Houston Public Works says they are organizing resources to fix the problem. The city expects to start repairs Monday, weather permitting.
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