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Neighbors: Fresh Meadows, Queens Street Could Cave In, Pose Serious Threat

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Neighbors in Queens have been worried that their street is going to swallow their cars – or even worse, someone might get hurt.

As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, neighbors renewed their call for help on Monday.

“Every time we come down the block, I worry the thing is going to open up and swallow us,” one woman said.

She was walking about a crumbling section of 179th Street in Fresh Meadows, Queens that dips down. Neighbors fear it is going to cave in completely soon.

“Somebody has to fix it before somebody gets killed,” a man said.

The section of 179th Street in question started buckling about two years ago. It is a major corridor leading to Utopia Parkway.

Local lawmakers even gathered in front of the crumbling spot to try to get the city’s help in determining the problem, and repairing it, before an unsuspecting driver loses control.

“They’ll see this strange, bizarre indentation in the road, and their first reaction will be to swerve, and they could crash into a car that’s parked — or God forbid, into a kid that’s playing,” said City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-24th.)

While the center of the roadway is mostly concave, the sides are lifting up. CBS 2’s Smith measured that the pavement had buckled about 5 1/2 inches in one spot, and neighbors said it is getting worse.

“And also about the pipes that might break if the road collapses further,” a woman said.

Neighbors said they have been begging for help by calling 311, and the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection.

“The surface of the street itself is (the responsibility of the) DOT, and what’s underneath it is DEP,” Lancman said.

“Both organizations there within the city are fighting each other, saying, ‘It’s your problem or my problem,’” a neighbor said.

Some neighbors are so fed up that they want to move. But they worry their home does not hold potential value with the potential hazard in the middle.

The DEP said it is still trying to identify what pipe is leaking, if any. Afterward, the DOT would repair and repave the road.

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