Worn rock blamed in wall collapse

Blasting noted
April 9, 2008 2:33:44 PM PDT
A new report blames weak rock for the collapse of a retaining wall at a construction site on Manhattan's Upper West Side last summer. That collapse forced hundreds of people from their homes. Critics say the report doesn't go far enough.

Eyewitness News reporter Jamie Roth has more from the Upper West Side.

The retaining wall along the Upper West Side came crumbling down on July 25th.

Hundreds residents of a nearby apartment building at Columbus Avenue and 97th Street were temporarily displaced and couldn't return for days.

Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer says it could have been avoided.

The city buildings department report says the temporary retaining wall collapsed because it was built on rock that was wasn't strong enough to support it.

Engineers should have noticed the rock was too weathered.

The report also found construction crews were blasting without the required seismic monitors.

But Stringer-- a vocal safety critic-- is calling the report a "whitewash."

He was there last summer after the collapse occurred.

"This project must stop until we fully investigate," Stringer said.

Stringer has called for better funding and stronger rules for the city buildings department -- which he says is overwhelmed because of the construction boom.

The report suggests citations should be issued for the collapse-- but doesn't get into specific punishments.

Community leaders are residents will hold a rally near the site of the collapse later Wednesday afternoon.