Neighborhood hazard gets worse with windy weather

Neighborhood hazard gets worse with windy weather
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A neighborhood hazard got even worse when the wind whipped up. Residents say work crews had left three big holes on their block, along with three large piles of dirt. All that dirt made for a lot of dust in the last few days.

"There's a lot of kids out here, there's a lot of animals out here," Judi Neuwirth said Tuesday. "This is an accident waiting to happen."

Residents were told the work was part of a project by AT&T to upgrade internet and phone service in the area. By late Tuesday, AT&T had crews out working on one of the holes, Neuwirth said.

But, they had waited a long time.

"It's been probably almost two months now," neighbor Laurie Long told Eyewitness News. One of the holes is right in front of her house in the 5900 block of Gwendolyn Street. It's an area near Panama Lane, and east of Highway 99.

The three holes are adjacent to the sidewalk. "They're large," Neuwirth said. "It looks like two pieces of plywood at least to cover them." The holes are covered, but neighbors still think it's a dangerous situation.

"The other day we let our dog out, and he was standing over there by the plywood, and we were afraid he was going to fall in the hole because it's not over actually the whole hole," Long said. She said the holes are also pretty deep.

She got a look down into one of them about two weeks ago, when she says a workman was back at the site. He told her to contact AT&T, but Long said her family didn't get any good answers.

Tuesday, Eyewitness News contacted an AT&T spokeswoman in the Los Angeles area. Meredith Red is trying to track down exactly what happened, and when. The holes were dug by a subcontractor.

"We still have no answer from the third party (subcontractor) as to when the holes were originally dug," Red responded by email. "We should be done with all the upgrades in the next week. Because there was 'cement' involved, we have to work with the city and their approval process to put everything back to the way it was. We are pushing the process through as quickly as possible."

Neighbors had run out of patience, especially when the wind hit. "It's dirt everywhere," Neuwirth said. "There's dust in places that I didn't think dust could get."

The AT&T spokeswoman apologized for the delay in completing the project, and told Eyewitness News their crews had been called off this job to do some emergency work.

"AT&T is working to upgrade the technology so customers can have the best service possible," Red said in the email. "We should be done with all the upgrades in the next week."

Good news for the neighbors. "I'd like to see it be fixed," Long said.

"I'm with Laurie," Neuwirth agreed. "Just come and finish it. Just take care of of it, and put the street back to where it's supposed to be."