Martins Ferry, Ohio (WTRF) - This is the day that some Martins Ferry residents thought would never come.
The North 8th Street sinkhole is finally repaired.
It took more than half a million dollars, and it taxed the patience of a whole neighborhood.
When it collapsed, it cracked two houses beyond repair.
But the long, complex, expensive job is nearly finished.
Last summer, it looked like a giant crater had opened up in the street.
But now the street is paved and almost ready to re-open.
Although the construction tape is still blocking the road, neighbors say a few drivers couldn't wait, and jumped the gun.
"They drove through the newly-paved street," said Frank Carroll of North 8th Street. "You can see tire tracks on the blacktop. It was a motorcycle and a car."
People had been upset about the sinkhole, and were quite vocal about it.
"And I don't blame them," said Mayor Bob Kraynyak of Martins Ferry. "They lost their parking spaces, they lost their ability to drive on the road."
"We're happy that this has all been fixed in a short period of time," said Carroll. "We've been stressed out about the parking,"
The parking issue has been a real hardship.
"We either had to park behind our houses, or park clear down the street and walk down," noted Darla Mitchell. "It was very inconvenient. I had to carry my groceries from a block away."
The sinkhole was 160 feet long and about 10 feet deep.
But workers had to dig down at least four times that deep to do the repairs.
"Actually 40 to 50 feet deep to get down to the bedrock," said Service Director Chris Cleary. "Water lines and utility lines are all on the upper side of the slope. So all of those were hanging in the balance while this job was going on."
They say the road had actually collapsed and been given a "band aid" treatment on and off for 20 years.
So people had become skeptical.
"I can see where they could believe that this was never going to happen," said Cleary. "And to have this completed and done is a great thing for us, and the whole city can be proud of getting this done."
How happy are they?
"We're talking about having a block party!" said Darla Mitchell.
The project cost more than $600,000.
The City managed to get most of it paid by grants.
There was also one ODOT loan that they'll pay off over a ten-year period.
But they say overall, it was a bargain, and the taxpayers didn't have to pay the bill.
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