Atlanta responds to road hazard that has led to many flattened tires

Dangerous road hazard in front of popular restaurant prompts reporter to spoof his colleague
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 10:06 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:19 AM EST
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Introduction: For more than a decade, Atlanta News First’s Harry Samler (Better Call Harry) and Adam Murphy have been advocating for viewers. Murphy’s Restaurant Report Card highlights some of Atlanta’s best and cleanest restaurants, and he holds the restaurants with failing scores accountable, while Better Call Harry tries to aid viewers with a wide range of consumer issues and holds businesses and local government accountable.

The two reporters look nothing alike, but viewers often confuse them. So, when a viewer contacted Harry about a dangerous road hazard outside a popular Cabbage Town restaurant, Better Call Harry spoofed his colleague with his version of the “Restaurant Report Card.”

EAST ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Traffic cones are a warning for a potential hazard on the road. But it’s meant to be a temporary warning until a long-term solution can be found.

A long-term solution is what residents in East Atlanta’s Cabbagetown community were hoping for after what they call a growing sinkhole in the road, became a dangerous situation.

They reported it to the city, and Atlanta’s Watershed department responded by putting a large steel plate over the hole on Boulevard Southeast. When that plate started becoming a hazard itself, residents reached out to Atlanta News First’s consumer investigator Better Call Harry.

“We’ve got a lot of heavy traffic and a huge plate in the middle,” explained Tim Pinkham, the owner of Agave.

He has seen many drivers blow tires going over the plate, or even veering into the other lane in order to drive around it.

Residents in the Cabbagetown community are asking for help with a road hazard the city covered...
Residents in the Cabbagetown community are asking for help with a road hazard the city covered with a steel plate.(WANF)

“I find this entire shoulder dangerous,” said one resident walking down the sidewalk next to the intersection.

The day after Atlanta News First called the city to address the safety problem, there was another “fix.” Instead of one steel plate on the road, now there were two. One of those included a safety cone, flattened and shoved underneath.

According to a highway engineering expert, steel plates “can be especially hazardous to motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians,” something that has business owners like Pinkham nervous.

In an article written in Robson Forensics, Civil Engineer Kevin Gorman explained “steel plates must be fixed in place to avoid movement.” He also wrote, “in addition to being firmly in contact with the pavement, they should be either pinned, recessed into the pavement, or secured with asphalt wedges around the perimeter.”

After seeing this for ourselves, Atlanta News First once again called the city.

This time, the fix seems to be an improvement.

On Wednesday morning, the plates were removed and the hole was filled with asphalt. The road still has a dip and the problem isn’t completely fixed, but the city said it will be returning the week after Thanksgiving to make a permanent repair.

Better Call Harry will be following up with the residents and the watershed department to make sure this happens.

If there’s something you would like Atlanta News First′s Consumer Investigator Better Call Harry to look into, fill out this submission form.