Tunnel boring project may be damaging Akron homes

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AKRON, Ohio - A massive, three-story tall boring machine, nicknamed 'Rosie' is slowly tunneling its way under the city of Akron. The machine is carving out an underground reservoir that will ultimately store millions of gallons of storm water.

The project has now moved about half way, 28-hundred feet, through rock and dirt from where it started.

Homeowers who live near the opening believe vibrations from the project are responsible for damaging their homes.

Daika Moegerle showed Fox 8 News cracks in many of the walls of her Mustill Street home. She believes vibrations that started even before 'Rosie' started carving its way through the earth began the process.

Moegerle says the cracks started appearing in walls and foundations as contractors cleared land to make way for the project.

She says the damage continued as massive trucks were using their small street going between the tunnel site and a new dump site behind their homes where they have been piling up mountains of debris from the project.

She explained that her home has stood for more than a century and the damage only started appearing after the project was underway.

"We have had some foundation issues. Most of us are seeing cracks within our foundations, cracks in our homes, just shifting that has taken place," said Moegerle.

A basement wall has collapsed at the home of Jeremiah Caldwell on nearby Cuyahoga Street.

Moegerle showed Fox 8 through her mother's Mustill Street home, where she says the vibrations from the construction and trucks carrying debris from the site have also caused the walls of her home to crack. A chimney is also crumbling, causing a part of the attic ceiling to collapse.

Moegerle says none of the damage existed before the project started.

Speaking for the city of Akron, Ellen Lander told Fox 8 News that the city has worked with the residents and wants to continue to have a dialogue with them.

"Essentially we have continued to work with the residents. We have had construction engineers look at the homes that they have been allowed to see. We have said from the very beginning if something is attributed to the project we will address it," said Lander.

The city has even put a seismograph in Moegerle's back yard to measure the vibrations.

"There should be no structural damage related to the project from the seismic data. The damage from the homes is not related to the project," said Lander, adding, "We are by no means washing our hands of it."

"If it is our fault we would be absolutely willing to make it right but so far the data and the structural engineer's analysis has not indicated that it is related to the project," she said.

Moegerle says the seismograph was put in her back yard about a year ago, after the damage was already starting.

"Clearly we need a new updated water system. I agree with that, however, we didn't ask for all of this to happen. We didn't ask for all the traffic to come down our street or Cuyahoga Street or Otto street or Border street. We didn't ask for all of this. It's kind of like we are just casualties of what needs to happen," said Moegerle.

Both Moegerle and Joyce Tucker, who also lives on Mustill Street right next door to where the tunnel is being bored say they are not moving.

"We have been here and we are going to stay here and the city needs to get that together," said Tucker.

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