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The City of San Diego started work February 19 on a $1.9 million project to remove deteriorated corrugated metal storm-drain pipes and replace them with reinforced concrete pipes.

In a February 27 interview, public works department spokeswoman Rebecca Pond described the project as a "longterm solution" to the issue of sinkholes forming on Princess View Drive. The project is estimated to last approximately 11 months, she said.

Repaired sinkhole site on Princess View Drive

Carolyn Buggert, who lives on Princess View Drive, knows that sinkholes grow rapidly. Buggert said in an interview that she saw what "looked like a little pothole" while driving past the spot where her husband normally parked his car. Buggert returned home from shopping to find the pothole had become a sinkhole.

City records showed the presence of sinkholes in 2011 and 2013. Pond said holes "formed because the top of the metal pipe had corroded to the point where there were holes, and the dirt was exposed." She provided photographs of a 2013 sinkhole on Princess View Drive and the site after the hole measuring about ten feet long and five feet deep was filled.

City crews filled the hole and applied asphalt on top so the street could stay open for traffic. Pond said, “The previous work was very specific to sinkhole repairs (spot repair). The work was required due to cavities in the street. The repair work allowed the city to finish the design for the longterm solution."

She said the project area on Princess View Drive extends from Glenroy Street to approximately 300 feet beyond Fontaine Street. On Fontaine Street, work will be done from Lewison Drive to Fontaine Place. All of Fontaine Place is involved, and work on Lewison Drive is planned from Fontaine Street to Lewison Avenue.

The project started on Fontaine Street west of Princess View and Lewison drives. That work is expected to last approximately three weeks, Pond said. The next phase, Fontaine Street east of Princess View and Fontaine Place, is projected to take about three weeks. The final phase is Princess View Drive, which Pond said would last approximately four to five weeks.

Though work started February 19, residents saw earlier signs of the project that initially had a tentative January 21 start date. The weekend before, there were orange cones and bags labeled "Contractor Supplies" on some curbs. There were red and white markings on streets and sidewalks.

Buggert said she knew the marks were required for the work, but likened it to graffiti. "It's on the sidewalk by my tree," she said. "I hope they're not planning to leave it there."

In February, residents in the affected area received notifications from District 7 city councilman Scott Sherman that the project would start that month.

Buggert said, "I hope I can come and go from my driveway."

When informed of Buggert's concern, Pond said, "If access to any driveway is temporarily interrupted, the contractor will directly coordinate with the property owner."

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