SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN. (WRCB) -- A road collapse reveals a coal mine under one Signal Mountain neighborhood.
Residents worry another collapse is coming, if repairs are not made quickly.
But they say their cries for help are going unanswered. "It did that all at once," Bernice Milligan says. "That was never there before.""It's terrifying," she adds.At 30 feet deep, 200 feet wide, this sinkhole stands between Bernice Milligan's home and the main road. "My husband had cancer and Hospice had to walk up here to see him," Milligan says.The road has washed out before, but two days ago it caved in, exposing what neighbors call a coal mine.Now, anyone coming or going must park at the end of Battles Lane and walk. "It's a pretty good walk, two times a morning," resident, Pam Brogan says.A few have tried driving over it. "You have to get completely over here to get by it, and it hit right there and busted the tire," Milligan says.Flat tires are a hassle, but residents say they fear for the safety of one neighbor. "That is really, really sick," Milligan says. "If we have to get him by here, we're in trouble.""I'd hate for a fire truck or an ambulance to come up here and drive across it," Robert Clark says. "There'd be no way."Residents say they have taken their concerns to county officials, who have not offered any help. Monday, Channel 3 found out why that has not happened. Battles Lane is a private road. A spokesperson for the county says for that reason, it is not maintained or repaired with taxpayer dollars. County officials say it's up to residents to make repairs, ones that are costly, but necessary. "Get it fixed," Brogan says. "Get it safe for my kids."
Channel 3 contacted Hamilton County Commissioner Jim Fields, who represents Battles Lane.
He says there is a process to making a private road a county road, but he says there is a criteria roadways must meet before becoming county property.
Battles Lane does not likely meet those standards in the condition it is in.
Residents say they've contacted the Mine Safety and Health Administration about stabilizing the road.
They aren't sure what it will cost, but believe it to be more than they can afford.
Staff members reported 28-year-old Raquel Spencer’s behavior to authorities as odd.
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
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