Riverside Drive may need more retaining walls

Posted at 5:02 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 19:17:10-04

CINCINNATI -- Additional retaining walls may be needed to stabilize land slippages along Riverside Drive in the city's East End neighborhood.

They'd protect major water and utility lines, as well as houses in the area showing a great deal of damage.

An $8 million wall project is already underway, running 1,200 feet between Hazan and Vance streets. Work should be completed in July.

But City Manager Harry Black said walls may also be needed 100 yards west of the current wall, heading toward Downtown, as well as 300 yards east

Neighbors say the new walls can't come soon enough: Dr. Teri Joiner now uses just one side of her driveway because the sliding hillside has pushed the concrete up at her home on Riverside Terrace.

"I have not really assessed my damage, but I would estimate it at about $10,000 at this point from what I can see, and that's about replacing the driveway," Joiner said.

Others are spending seven or eight times that amount to correct problems -- so to Joiner, a new wall is a good idea. Three options are on the table, she said: One is behind a set of railroad tracks; another is in the homes' backyards; and the third is in the driveway.

Riverside Terrace isn't the only trouble spot, either: The slide is pushing Riverside Drive itself into a 21-condominium complex across the street, according to resident Ed Rider.

"We're seeing damage from our sidewalks being pushed into the porches, disconnecting steps and causing damage to porch foundations," Rider said.

The solution, for now, has been cutting the concrete and backfilling the gap with rocks. But Rider and others want firm answers, so they went to Cincinnati City Council on Monday.

"Let's get this fixed, because we'll all be in Kentucky before we know it," Rider said.

Work on the current wall is well underway, with pilings already in place. Lew Seiler said it's stopped much of the slide around his law office.

"Since the pilings have been in and the surface water has been properly controlled, we've had a period of stability so far," Seiler said.

But, what's needed after that -- and how to pay for it -- concerns East End Community Council president Patrick Ormond.

"There's a lot of frightened people," Ormond said. "There's a lot of people that have the roof over their head threatened. There are a lot of people that are angry."

Crews are monitoring the slide every day with new inclinometers. While no final decision has been made on adding more walls, the current thinking is they must be built.