Ice is seen on Belair Road at Woodlea Avenue in Baltimore, due… (Liz Kay, Baltimore Sun )
The problem: A leak in Northeast Baltimore leaves inches of ice on Belair Road.
The back story: Eugene Byrnes was worried about the babies.
He lives about a block from the intersection of Belair Road and Woodlea Avenue in Northeast Baltimore, and for weeks, Byrnes has witnessed people struggling across the ice that has become a regular feature of the northwest corner on cold days.
"The bus gets in there to load and unload passengers and has trouble getting out," Byrnes said. On the worst days, the ice is too thick for the bus to navigate, and passengers have to brave the slippery conditions to board.
The source of the ice is water leaking from a manhole cover in the intersection that freezes.
"It wasn't a gushing break, but it was creating havoc," he said, and compounding already icy conditions.
Byrnes called Baltimore's 311 line to report the leak several weeks ago. But he wasn't the first person to contact Watchdog about the intersection. Nor was Watchdog the first to inform Baltimore's Department of Public Works about it.
"We are aware of it," DPW spokesman Kurt Kocher said. "I'm personally aware of it. I reported it myself."
But because the leaking valve is just at "light water" levels, emergency situations have taken precedence.
"They have to go down the priority list because of the fact that there are a number of water main breaks which directly impact customer service," Kocher said.
Last week, public works crews repaired a break in the 1800 block of E. Cold Spring Lane, as well as one in Cockeysville. On Friday, about 10 water main breaks were on the list, in addition to about 100 breaks in service lines to customers such as apartment buildings, homes and businesses — some heavy, some light. There were also 148 valve leaks.
"You get one fixed, and another one elsewhere needs to be addressed," Kocher said.
An on-call contractor assists with some of the necessary valve replacement and "exercising," to prevent them from getting stuck by rust, he said.
In the meantime, public works crews will salt the Belair Road intersection until they can address it.
Who can fix this: Ron Brooks, Bureau of Water and Wastewater, Baltimore Department of Public Works. 410-396-7870. City residents should call 311 to report problems. Baltimore County residents can call 410-396-5352.
Is there something in your neighborhood that's not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by e-mailing email@example.com or calling 410-332-6735.