SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA) --- Residents of Brisbane Street here were thrilled when, after years of waiting, they watched county government workers pave their long-neglected road.
"It was incredibly bumpy. There were potholes everywhere. I really dreaded the last few blocks of my bike commute, " said Peter Gray who lives on the street.
"I had to have my car realigned twice over the last two years because of all the potholes that we were hitting in the road," said Donald Gakenheimer.
After the two-year project was completed late this summer Gakenheimer described it as " smooth as a baby's bottom."
There is something even newer on the street this week than the new pavement: markings that signal coming utility work that would require digging up the pristine street.
"It's ridiculous," Gray said.
"I think somebody's head should roll," Gakenheimer added.
"What happened is there has been a communications breakdown between WSSC ( Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission) and the county department of transportation," said District Five Council member Valerie Ervin, whose office has been flooded with complaints.
The WSSC is operating under a federal mandate that requires it to make repairs, and had believed the pipes under Brisbane could be repaired without digging trenches in the street.
After the paving was completed, a contractor discovered the pipes were different than believed, and digging would be required to repair them.
Made aware of the complaints, the WSSC is now trying to find an alternative repair that would not require digging on the street.
"We're sympathetic to that so we're going to go back now and see if we can change, and see if there is some way to go back to trenchless handling of this," said WSSC spokesman Jim Neustadt, who says the repairs are important to the environment, including the Chesapeake Bay, which receives area run-off.
"We literally want to keep sewage from flowing into their basements. That's what this project is all about, the environment and keeping sewage from flowing into their basements," Neustadt said.
New roads in Montgomery County are supposed to be left alone after they are paved.
"We don't cut. We don't do anything with those roads for five years," said Acting County Transportation Director Al Roshdieh.
Roshdieh says the WSSC and county coordinate repairs on hundreds of projects a year and that Brisbane Street is the first he can recall where the coordination efforts have failed.
"There is quite a bit of savings to the taxpayers because we can coordinate the projects," he said.
The WSSC and county meet next week to discuss alternatives. In the meantime, the digging is on hold.
"Are you pretty confident that the street won't be cut up?" asked 9News Now
"Oh. no. I can't say that because that's a decision the WSSC has to make," he replied.