'Huge' pothole closes Palm Bay road for years

Parts of neighborhood streets barricaded off, no fix from city

PALM BAY, Fla. – In continuing efforts to get results for neighbors fed up with Palm Bay's long-neglected infrastructure, News 6 discovered Friday how one large pothole went unrepaired for seven years, according to a neighbor, closing off part of a residential street.

"Oh, it's huge," Waterbury Avenue resident Alisca Morales said. "I didn't know when we first moved in that it was going to be considered a dead end."

Morales told News 6 the road closure creates a daily hassle for drivers.

"They just kind of turn around at that corner and come back around," she said. "I've even had people knock on my door to figure how to get around to the other side."

When News 6 asked why the city is leaving the road unfixed, Assistant Director of Public Works Barney Weiss said public safety is the department's No. 1 priority.

"You can drive over a bad road," Weiss said. "You can't drive over a bad culvert."

Weiss also addressed a second road closure another News 6 viewer brought to our attention.

That neighbor said barriers on Nevada Drive, like Waterbury Avenue, also over a canal, have been there a couple years.

"If I would have left the road unattended and that culvert collapsed, now you're putting all those at risk," Weiss said. "The culvert was in such poor condition we were afraid that a heavy vehicle or something would pass through and that's why we closed it."

City officials told News 6 after they begin implementing last November's voter-approved assessment for repairing roads and stormwater drains, fixing the closed streets will be at the top of their priorities.

That project is expected to take at least another year.

"It just needs to be fixed," Morales said. "It needs to be taken care of. It could be a sinkhole maybe in another seven years."

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