Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Great Glenwood Gorge

For three years, the sinkholes in front of the Glenwood Apartments, located off Clay Street in Annapolis, have been expanding. And, for three years, the Annapolis Housing Authority, who owns the property, and the City of Annapolis have dawdled on how to handle the situation.

Below are photos of the site from the Capital.

Photo by J. Henson

The City Administrator and acting director of Public Works, Bob Agee, said after his employees went out to the sinkholes last year, they couldn't devise how to stop it, or what was even causing it. Here's a hint courtesy Google Earth:

To the right is College Creek. In the center are the Glenwood Apartments, with the location of the sinkholes marked with ovals. To the left, marked roughly by the pentagon, are the headwaters of College Creek. Notice how they disappear between this point and the Creek? That's because they have almost certainly been piped under the fill that forms the foundation for the parking lot on that side of Glenwood. Chances are, the pipes have failed, the soil is washing out into College Creek, and the land is subsiding. Viola, sinkholes!

So what is this right way to fix this mess? How about "daylighting" the stream [pdf]? Pulling out the fill, peeling back the stream banks, and restoring the waterway will mean losing some parking (most of which has been lost for the past three years), and may mean placing a bridge or large culvert where Clay Street crosses it, but, it will arrest the degradation, prevent the additional siltation of College Creek, and be an amenity for the residents of Glenwood.

Let's hope the parties involved get their act together before damage to the foundation of the apartment complex does occur.

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