Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Local blind man wants city to fix sidewalk hazard

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BATON ROUGE - A utility access point in the middle of a downtown sidewalk has been left uncovered for years according to residents. Without the cover, the utility point is a large hole, a hazard residents estimate to be three feet long, one foot wide, and seven inches deep.

The hole is located on the west sidewalk of N. 7th St., inbetween Main St. and North St.

Phil Timplet said he first contacted the city about the problem in 2008, and several times since then, but he has given up because nothing has changed. Timplet is blind and has fallen in the hole twice.

However, Timplet isn't worried about himself because he uses a walking cane, one that alerts him to dangers on the ground. Instead, he's worried about the people who can see, but may not be paying attention.

"Hopefully all they'll do is sprain an ankle," said Timplet. "However, I can see someone falling and hitting their head or breaking a shoulder."

An employee with Baton Rouge's Public Works Department could not find any complaints about the sidewalk. The employee said that when someone calls in to report a problem, the person will be given case number and it's essential for the person to keep that number to track the issue.

Timplet said he lost the number years ago, and it shouldn't be up to him to make sure the sidewalk is fixed.

After several phone calls Friday, News 2 determined the utility access point belongs to AT&T. A company spokesperson said a cover would be put in place on Monday, but they were confused as to why the city never contacted them about the problem.


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