Plumbing Problem Driving Pedestrians Right Into Traffic - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Plumbing Problem Driving Pedestrians Right Into Traffic

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PHILADELPHIA -

A homeowner's sewage problem has become a nightmare for everyone on the block – the 3200 block of Cottman Avenue, to be exact.

The headlines this week remind us of the dangers of pedestrians walking on busy roadways.

But that's exactly what's happening on Cottman at the site of a plumbing project now five weeks old and counting, FOX 29's Bruce Gordon reported after spending the day looking for answers.

As cars and trucks whiz by, anxious pedestrians detour out into traffic. They're forced there by caution tape that warns them away from a mountain of mud and a sheet of plywood blocking the sidewalk at 3255 Cottman Avenue.

"I can't walk over it," said pedestrian Larry Colbert. "I gotta go into the street, yeah."

When Gordon mentions that this doesn't sound very safe, Colbert said, "No, not on Cottman Avenue. This is a bad street."

Marie Yotsko is the homeowner here. She says sewage in her basement led her to hire a plumbing contractor, John B. Gregory and Sons, back on June 11.

They quickly realized the problem was out at the sidewalk.

"So, they've been out here working, and they come a couple days and they do some digging," she said. "And then they have some days that they're not able to come. And then the problem is like this."

A huge hole has been dug covered by plywood and some rocks to keep it in place.

On Tuesday, Marie says there was a minor accident on the job site.

"I came out to bring water out to the gentlemen, and they said that one of the men was stuck down in the hole," Yotsko said.

He got out safely, but Marie says that's the last she's seen of the workers.

Gordon took some pictures of the site and emailed them to the appropriate city officials. Then, he went to John B. Gregory's Drexel Hill business address.

He wasn't there, but Gordon did get his cell phone number.

"I understand from the homeowner that your guys have been out there somewhat sporadically, a couple of days a week, but that's about it. Is there any way that job could get sped up a little bit?" Gordon asked.

Gregory blames a massive tree that's made it tough to fix the pipes.

Folks in the neighborhood don't want to hear excuses.

"What goes through your mind when you see this mess, week after week after week?" Gordon asked.

"Why don't they fix it?" Colbert said.

The folks at the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections said they were headed to inspect this site based on a 3-1-1 call when we got a hold of them.

They say the contractor will be fined for failing to notify the city that work was ready to begin.

He may also face sanctions from the Streets Department for failing to get a permit to close off that sidewalk.

Only after the fine is paid and the permits granted will this job be allowed to continue. Until then, pedestrian beware, Gordon reported.

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