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City to Move Forward on Caroline Underpass Repairs at Cost of Hundreds of Thousands

UPDATE (Wednesday):

The Covington City Commission approved an expenditure of $230,070 to repair the collapsed wall. Work is expected to begin Wednesday. Here is the schedule for the repairs:

Jan 8 - Excavation & water line inspections

Jan 9 - 10 - Demolition/existing wall investigation

Jan 13 - 17 - Temporary shoring and lagging

Jan 20 - 25 - Utility installation to allow reentry by residents

Jan 27 - 31 Calsson and grade beam construction

Feb 3 - 8 - Concrete wall construction

Feb 10 - 15 - Sidewalk and stairway construction

Feb 17 - 21 - Handrail/guardrail construction

Feb 24 - Roadway construction along Caroline Ave. resumes

"We have not stopped working on this," said City Engineer Mike Yeager.

ORIGINAL POST (Tuesday):

The City of Covington will seek to move forward Tuesday with plans to repair the collapsed retaining wall at the Caroline Underpass in Latonia.

At Tuesday's city commission meeting the City will consider awarding a bid to Scherzinger Drilling to construct a new retaining wall at the site. No amount for the work was listed in the agenda but Assistant City Manager and City Solicitor Frank Warnock told The River City News that he expects the work to cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Warnock also said that the City would seek payment assistance from other entities for the reconstruction and he has sent letters to contractors Larry Smith and James Berling in addition to the Northern Kentucky Water District requesting such. The road beneath the underpass, which had been closed to thru traffic for months, was at the final phases of reconstruction when the wall collapsed and a water main broke on December 13.

"The City didn't do anything wrong," Warnock said. "The City hired contractors to design and build and there is always going to be finger-pointing going on when you have an event like this, so we have to determine liability. All we did is, we own the property and we hired contractors to design and build and this unfortunate occurrence happened."

Warnock had said previously that the issue of liability could end up in court.

The biggest concern, Warnock said, is that four homes had to be evacuated and those residents have not been able to return since. Covington attorney Gailen Bridges is representing one of the residents and held a news conference at the site late last month in which he and some of the residents claimed that the City is ignoring their needs.

The City said that is has continuously been working to help the residents.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Aftermath of wall collapse at Caroline Underpass/RCN file