KC man’s been waiting almost a year for dangerous hole in street to be repaired

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every time Frank Richardson leaves home, he knows he’s heading toward a hazard. A sunken manhole cover at the entrance to his subdivision at Blue Parkway and Fairway Drive.

“People get flat tires running into it because it’s approximately 4-5 inches deep,” said Richardson who has been hard at work for nearly a year trying to get someone in government to fix the problem.

“We’ve talked to the city manager’s office, city council people, legislative people. So far, we haven’t been able to get anything,” said Richardson, a retired postal worker who lives in a neighborhood of well-tended homes.

He said he just wants the same care to be given to the street. But every time he calls the city’s 311 hotline to report the sinking manhole, he gets the same response.

“They’re working on it,” he said he’s told. “They’ve been working on it for nearly a year.”

Neighbors have tried to warn unsuspecting drivers of the sunken hazard by sticking a traffic cone in the hole. But after a week, the cones usually disappear.

Richardson said he’s especially worried when it rains because the sunken manhole fills with water, making it even more difficult to see.

“We’re paying taxes here just like everybody else,” Richardson said, wondering why his complaints have gone ignored for so long.

Working for you, FOX4 Problem Solvers called Kansas City’s Public Works Department. We were told the manhole was the responsibility of a private contractor. In fact, the city showed us a letter it had sent to the contractor in October advising them of the urgent need to fix the sinking manhole. 

FOX4 Problem Solvers then called the contractor, Unite Private Networks, which provides fiber optic infrastructure, according to its website. Within a few hours of pointing out the problem, a  spokeswoman acknowledged the manhole was the company’s responsibility.

The next day it put a plate over the hole as a temporary fix. A day after that, a crew was filling the hole and fixing the problem.

Richardson was thrilled.

“Thank you,” he told Problem Solvers. “You knew who to talk to.”

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