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26th Street Residents Ready To Move Back In After Collapse

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — They were forced from their homes when 26th Street collapsed more than a month ago. Now people in that Charles Village neighborhood are getting ready to move back in.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on what residents are finding to be a problem.

It’s been more than a month since residents on 26th Street were forced out of their homes after a massive section of the street collapsed onto the CSX tracks.

“Three years, I’ve been calling in. The city came out five or six times and told me not to worry, that everything was OK,” one resident said.

For several weeks, those living on “Pastel Row” have been staying with friends, family and even in hotels as crews continue to stabilize the street and restore gas, water and electricity.

The mayor is making good on her promise to have residents in by or before June 15.

“I think they probably could have started this evening after the last hookups, but we gave a Thursday morning start time for starting to move back in,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

But already there are issues.

Residents have been eager to get back inside of their homes. But WJZ has learned there are already some issues, such as dust being found in some of the homes. There are also concerns about continued construction and the possibility of more debris.

“It’s a dust bin,” said Bob Leffler, who owns several buildings nearby.

He says the dust is heavy in the air.

“When they’re moving the heavy equipment, they kick up the dust,” said Leffler.

The city says it is well aware of the dust problems.

“There will be a cleanup done now and ongoing cleanups to ensure there are no problems between now and when the final construction is completed.”

Because of homeowners’ work schedules, the city is staggering the move-in dates and extending the hotel stays until Saturday and will now provide movers and trucks at no cost.

“We’ll be taking care of kind of the complicated parts for them and really allowing them just to move back in with as little trouble as possible,” said a city official.

The city says the cost of the construction at 26th Street is just under $19 million.

The city has not said whether CSX will bear any responsibility.

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