BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Splitting the bill! City officials and representatives have agreed to split the $15 million construction costs to rebuild 26th Street after a major collapse back in April displaced residents for weeks and swallowed cars onto the CSX tracks.
Rochelle Ritchie has more on the agreement.
The city and CSX officials call the agreement fair. The $15 million price tag is much lower than the $18.5 million first predicted. Still, neither party is taking blame for the collapse.
It’s the most talked about street collapse in Baltimore history and it was all caught on cell phone video. It was April when cars, the sidewalk and retaining wall on 26th Street slammed onto the CSX tracks below.
“It scared the heck out of me,” said Patrick Clark.
Rebuilding 26th Street was expected to cost $18.5 million but after a second look at the numbers, the city came back with a $15 million price tag.
After months of negotiations, CSX and the city will split the costs. The mayor says the deal saves money.
“If we were to lose in a lawsuit, the city would be responsible for all the legal fees and all the expenses related to the reconstruction, as well,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
On the day of the collapse, weather conditions were very much like they are right now: sporadic torrential downpours. Neither CSX nor city officials have taken responsibility for the collapse; the mayor blamed it on Mother Nature.
“We know that we have had a ridiculous, relentless winter. We know that we have had hurricane-level rains,” she said.
Residents who were displaced from their homes for weeks after the collapse say they would have expected the city to pay more of the bill.
“It is their responsibility so I would say yeah,” said a resident.
CSX officials released a statement on the agreement saying, “The agreement is fair and brings quick resolution to what otherwise could have been a protracted process.”
While taxpayers will pay $7.5 million, some say it’s better to split it 50/50 than for the city to pay the whole thing.
“It’s benefited both the city and the railroad company. They should both split the costs; it’s benefited both for many years,” said Clark.
The construction project could be completed sometime next year.
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