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Displaced By Road Collapse, Fort Washington Residents Told County Can’t Afford Repairs

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Jessica Kartalija 3 Jessica Kartalija
Jessica Kartalija joined the Eyewitness News team during the summer of...
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FORT WASHINGTON, Md. (WJZ)—Residents in Fort Washington who were forced out of their homes in May were given their options at a meeting Monday night.

Unfortunately, as Jessica Kartalija reports, it wasn’t what they were hoping for.

The Cullen family hasn’t been able to live in their hilltop house since the slope failed in early May.

A kind neighbor let them stay rent free for a month, but that’s ending.

“You don’t really save to have to pay for rent and mortgage at the same time,” said Myles Cullen.

Monday night, officials told residents the cheapest option to fix Piscataway Drive and Coldwater Drive and the slope is $22 million. But the county only has $11 million budgeted and will ask the state for the rest. If the state says yes, construction would force people out of their homes for six months. If the state says no, the county wouldn’t do repairs but would look at buying people out.

“That makes us uneasy,” a woman said.

The county says the issue is complicated because the road is county property, but the slope is private property.

Residents believe years of county neglect led to the slope failing.

“The facts haven’t been straight. They keep reporting in the newspaper that the hill fell, and then the road broke. No, the road broke first,” one woman said.

Beyond the damaged part of the road are undamaged homes. The owners say they don’t want to have to move because someone calls the road dangerous.

“The engineering should start with the constraint of keeping people in their houses,” said John Schnizlein, homeowner.

County officials hope to get an answer from the state in about two weeks.

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