The recent sinkhole in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park has some residents questioning the quality of the city’s infrastructure. Although no one was injured, the sinkhole swallowed an entire intersection, causing major traffic delays near Fifth Avenue and 64th Street. The repair timeline for the sinkhole is unclear.
NBC New York reported Tuesday that the disaster might have been spurred by the severe weather of Tuesday night. The existing infrastructure could not withstand the torrential rains and powerful winds, which were unusual for this time of year.
Mayor De Blasio has long championed city development, specifically the idea of creating more affordable housing for New Yorkers in areas like East New York and Flushing West. But some say that revitalizing city infrastructure should be the city’s first priority.
The New York Daily News recently interviewed longtime Brooklyn resident Frank Bauman, whose wife’s business is near the affected intersection.
“It’s an act of rotting infrastructure…There’s been a divot here for the last 12 years. The rainstorm last night was the last straw,” he said.
Many took to Twitter to comment on the issue:
Former council member Sal Albanese noted:
Giant sinkhole in my old Council District in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park is emblematic of the infrastructure investment we need
— Sal Albanese (@SalAlbaneseNYC) August 4, 2015
Resident Tim Holburn, @golubizada, echoed that sentiment:
— tim holborn (@golubizada) August 4, 2015
Brooklyn has had a number of other sinkhole episodes over the past few years.
In 2012, the Department of Environmental Protection repaired one on 92nd Street between 3rd Avenue and Ridge Boulevard in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. This sinkhole was caused by a partially collapsed sewer line.
The scope of the DEP’s work is vast. It manages the city’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. It is responsible for 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts throughout the five boroughs, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines and 95 pump stations.
In 2012, the DEP announced that it was planning on investing $13.2 billion into the city’s infrastructure by 2022. Whether or not this will be enough to fix NYC’s problems remains to be determined.
Weigh in at @bbhnyc. Could future sinkholes be prevented through public investment in infrastructure?