Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Con Ed Diggs Up Ditmas Despite Its New Blacktop

Kensington residents are once again putting up with torn up streets only weeks after the Department of Transportation spent many days repaving and painting parts of Cortelyou Road and Ditmas Avenue this past summer.

Con Edison has a permit to dig up Ditmas
Two Con Edison crews had no qualms tearing up large swaths of Ditmas Avenue in order to make emergency repairs.  One crew was responding to a report from a neighborhood customer about electrical problems he was having while the other crew was making emergency repairs to a set of “high voltage lines” that bring electricity to the whole neighborhood.

Spokesman for Con Edison, Alfonso Quiroz said, “We had to take them out and replace them,” referring to the wires that were in damaged cables they found underground earlier in the week.

Con Edison has a permit for the work they are doing, but many utility companies often do not bother with acquiring permits before they come and dig up the streets. Since 2010, when fines for failing to get a permit to do work on the streets doubled, the city has been collecting large sums from the companies.

The fine for tearing up a street without a permit is now $1,500, bringing millions of dollars into the city treasury. But that income has not made residents any happier.

“I just don't understand what the problem is,” fumed Miriam Sanchez, 58, who owns the hairstylist store on East Third St. “What have they been fixing for so long? The noise and construction is such a nuisance.”

Inspectors are constantly on the lookout for violators, finding many. In 2012 construction firms were fined 2,033 times. In 2011 that number was only 516.

"We would not be digging unless there was a permit," said Quiroz. He added that the work will be completely as soon as possible.