Sink hole opens in backyard on Lee Rd 500 - WNEM TV 5

Sink hole opens in backyard on Lee Rd 500

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Residents in the Lakes Subdivision on Lee Road 500 are trying to figure out what to do after a giant canyon-like sink hole opened up in their backyard. 

They tell News Leader 9 that Lee County, Phenix City and Russell County all claim to have no responsibility for repairs. 

For months, folks in The Lakes on Mimosa Rd. and Lee Road 500 say they've watched this hole grow bigger and bigger. It's forced the folks who lived in homes near it to move out. Other neighbors are scared that they'll be the next to sink in.

"I was right beside it 'bout an inch close, but there was about two feet in front of me of ground still, and the fence had fell 'cause the ground caved in," explains neighbor Todd Reinhart.

But they say that when they tried to get the flooding and sinkhole fixed, they had trouble breaking ground.

Neighbors say trying to figure out who's responsible for cleaning up this mess has dropped them in a hole on confusion.

Stacy Sims lives just across from the sinkhole,  and says, "Lee County doesn't want to do anything, because they say paperwork, originally when the road was built, was not filed correctly. So, it's an unmaintained county road. Phenix City utilities doesn't want to do anything. They say it's not their problem."

This leaves several yards and the main road flooded on many occasions. So we took the concern to Phenix City Engineer Angel Moore for clarity.

"The reason the water is overtopping the road is, we have an outlet structure here, in this lake that is on private property. And also, this portion of the road right here belongs to Lee County, because the city has it annexed on both sides of the road. But this outlet structure appears to be clogged up with debris such as limbs, anything else that can be in the lake," Moore adds.

Moore says only the shaded area of the map is part of Phenix City Limits, and the hole is not in it. The rest is the responsibility of Lee County. But Justin Hardee, Lee County engineer says that's only partially true.

"That portion of Lee Road 500 has not been accepted by the Lee County Commission for maintenance. Therefore, it is not maintained by the Lee County Highway Department," explains Hardee.

But neighbors say it doesn't really matter who owns what, they just want the safety hazard fixed in their community.

Sims questions, "Can we not just come together, and work together to fix it? That's my thing."

Lee County engineer Justin Hardee says residents could petition their commissioner in hopes of getting Lee Road 500 adopted by the commissions. He says if this happens, the County is only responsible for things on public right of way.

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