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Harrisburg leaders to address sinkhole problem

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Harrisburg city leaders have scheduled a hearing to determine just how big the sinkhole problem is in the city and how much it could potentially cost to fix.

The massive sinkhole that formed more than a week ago on the 2100 block of N. 4th Street is what prompted the hearing. City officials fear this is just the beginning of a major structural problem that desperately needs to be fixed.

Public Works Director Kevin Hagerich said there are at least 40 other sinkholes throughout the city that are covered with metal plates.

“We can do the contracting, we can do the evaluations. We can do the prioritization for the city, but we need fiscal help,” Hagerich said.

Council members Brad Koplinski and Sandra Reid will lead the hearing and have asked representatives from the city, the Harrisburg Authority and UGI to appear.

Over the weekend, Governor Tom Corbett discussed the possibility of help from the state.

“As far as I know I have not heard from the mayor at this point,” Gov. Corbett said. “And I think she understands it is a city issue. But if there’s somewhere we are able to help, I mean we have helped in other times. We’ll see what we can do.”

Meanwhile, many people who live on 4th Street have been forced to relocate while crews work to install temporary water and sewer lines. Crews installed new gas lines on Friday.

The Harrisburg Bureau of Water is waiting on the results of two bacteria tests conducted on the temporary water line to see if it is safe to restore service. If so, service could be restored as early as Wednesday.

Mayor Linda Thompson said installing new permanent water and sewer lines will take at least several more weeks.

The hearing on the sinkhole situation is scheduled for Mon., January 14 at 5:30p.m. in City Council Chambers.