Crater Was Filled At Last By DEP After CBS2 Got Involved

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For weeks, a massive crater on busy Queens Boulevard rattled residents damaged cars – but New York City officials could not decide whether to define it as a pothole as a sinkhole.

And as that question remained unresolved, nothing got done – until CBS2 got involved.

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As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported exclusively Tuesday, the crater made for a nasty surprise for drivers in front of Queens Center Mall.

“It looks like a dungeon,” one man said.

Tires nailing the deep hole were lucky to escape with their rims round and air left.

“The whole tire could come off,” said Linda Izsbak of Glendale, Queens.

CBS2 put a smartphone inside the sinkhole to get a view of its breadth. By CBS2’s measurements, the crater is about 2 feet across and more than 2 feet deep — close to the crosswalk.

“My foot probably could’ve gotten stuck in there,” said Victor Valdez.

A crossing guard told CBS2 the hole opened up in the middle of May. Week after week, it grew.

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“So hopefully they’ll fix it,” a woman said as she drove.

But how fast it was to get fixed depended on whether the city declared it a pothole or sinkhole.

A pothole, where you can easily see the bottom, is the Department of Transportation’s responsibility. A sinkhole that goes deeper is left for the Department of Environmental Protection.

CBS2 called both departments. When a DEP representative arrived, we showed them the trouble spot – and their crews filled it.

DEP workers told CBS2 the crater might not even be their responsibility, but they just wanted to end the public threat.

Some reacted by saying, “It’s about time!”

“It shouldn’t have to be there that long,” said Kiwana Hairston of Elmhurst, Queens.

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Drivers and residents said next time, it should be just hours – and not weeks — to get something like the crater on Queens Boulevard defined then fixed.