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Tab Increases Nearly $100K In 26th Street Collapse Damage

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26TH STREET
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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The taxpayers’ bill is growing for repairs to the collapsed portion of 26th Street in Baltimore, and there’s no word yet from CSX on whether they plan to pay anything.

Investigative reporter Mike Hellgren has the latest figures.

We’re talking almost $20 million. And there is growing frustration about whether this could have been avoided had the city heeded warnings.

Work is ahead of schedule more than a month after 26th Street collapsed—taking cars, half the street, and Jim Zitzer’s peace of mind with it.

“It’s just obvious to anyone there were serious, serious problems, and they never got fixed,” Zitzer said.

Zitzer is one of several residents who say they notified the city at least two years before the collapse but were ignored.

“You didn’t have to be an engineer to see it. It was right there. The whole side of the street was cracked,” Zitzer said.

Zitzer also blames CSX. The railroad company’s tracks are next to the street.

Now, the tab for reconstruction stands at $18.5 million. WJZ has learned relocation of those who live on the street costs around $95,000, most of that for hotels.

“If they would have fixed it two years ago when it was brought to their attention, it sure wouldn’t have cost $18.5 million,” Zitzer said.

The city is still in regular talks with CSX, but at this point it’s unclear how much–if anything–the railroad company will pay.

“We want to know what factors may have led to this occurring. We want to know what was our response? When citizens called in, what was our response?” said Kevin Harris, Baltimore Mayor’s Office.

But first, they want to get it fixed. That’s still months away.

“We’re not done by any means, and we still need to go into a full court press to make sure everything is rectified as soon as possible,” Harris said.

Zitzer will be watching. Closely.

“Yes, I’m going to hold the city accountable. Why, certainly,” said Connor Scott, Baltimore City’s deputy director of emergency management.

CSX has said in past statements it’s working with the city and is focused on the well-being of those who live in the area.

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