WUSA9 gets answers in the case of the unsafe sidewalk in downtown DC

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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- It's an eyesore and it's dangerous. And it's sitting in a busy spot where lots of people walk past it every day. WUSA9 is trying to get one viewer answers in the case of two rusty, hole-filled metal doors that lead underground on one downtown sidewalk.

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Jeanette Tejeda de Gomez, who happens to work at AAA Mid-Atlantic's nearby Headquarters, filed a service request with DDOT in early June. She says the situation is dangerous, "I noticed this grate was very, very corroded and that people were going home walking on this very corroded grate. You could get a shoe caught in it, a child could walk through it and I noticed there was a cone that was being placed on it…. I reported the grate and, DDOT, within a few days, did come out and painted orange "X's" all over this grate, placed more cones on it and signs on it but it's been over a month and nothing else has occurred."

WUSA9 checked it out today and saw the cones have been moved to the side. We asked people at the intersection of 14th and G streets what they thought. Over and over, we heard the word '"dangerous" to describe the situation. One woman who's a lawyer who works nearby told us, "That's what lawyers call a tort waiting to happen."

Why no further action in a month? We called DDOT to see when it would be fixed. They told us the doors are called a "vault," and they are used to get deliveries into the building beside it. However, that building now sits vacant, and that's the hold-up. DDOT says they need to figure out who owns it so the owner can pay to replace the new vault. They say that could take up to 90 days.

DDOT also told WUSA9 they don't believe the vault is in imminent danger of collapsing, and they'll periodically check to make sure the cones are in place while they locate the owner of that building.

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