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Sinkhole, drainage pipe repaired after two-year wait

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BATON ROUGE - After two years, a sinkhole in Azalea Lakes has been repaired. It was last April when 2 On Your Side first visited with homeowners about the growing hole. Then again in February, when the Parish said it might be another year before work is done.

But it only took a couple of weeks!

That hole was between two properties in the servitude and it was just a few feet from a lake. John Berges owns one of those homes next to it and estimated the hole was at least 20 feet wide. He says he was very happy to see a contracting crew in the yard a couple of weeks ago getting the job done.

The crew used an aqua dam and a pump to keep the water out while they worked. Months ago, the City-Parish had asked the neighborhood to lower the lake so they could work on the eroded pipe. Berges says the neighborhood had concerns about what would happen to bulkheads around the lake if that were to happen.

The crew dug a long, deep trench to dig up the eroded pipe and replace it with a new one.

Before it was fixed, rainwater would back up into the street.

"The whole area was underwater," Berges said.

The drainage pipe is supposed to empty out into the lake. Instead, it continued to wash out the ground and created a sinkhole. It swallowed up a lot of land and a utility box.

Not only was the hole an eyesore, but Berges says it was also a safety hazard. Residents walk between the homes to fish and kids play in the area.

"What if one of those small kids trips, falls in the hole and gets hurt?" he said.

With the hole gone, that worry is too.

The City-Parish says it will wait four to six weeks for the ground to settle before the Department of Maintenance revisits the area to repair the ground. The parish also plans to install a concrete inlet to access the drainage pipe. Berges says he isn't a fan of that.

"If I have to, then I'll let the bulldozer roll over me," he said. "But I'm not going to let them put another piece of concrete in my backyard."

The City-Parish says that a concrete inlet will help them maintain the drainage system, which is in a public servitude.

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