Who would have dreamed it would take so long to fix a hole?
It’s been more like a nightmare for Tyson Gibson.
The trouble began on Oct. 6, when a fuel tanker truck overturned on the sharp curve in the 300 block of East Elm Street. That’s where Gibson lives, just three blocks from the downtown square in Glen Rose.
The weight of the fuel — which included separate compartments containing diesel and regular gasoline — shifted and the driver lost control. The huge truck rolled over on its side and the tank was ruptured, allowing approximately 5,000 gallons of fuel to leak into Gibson’s yard.
The hole remained an ugly, open wound in the gut of Glen Rose for more than five months.
“I felt like I’ve been forgotten this whole time,” said Gibson, 21, a 2013 graduate of Brazos River Charter School.
Sporadic rainfall and extensive government-required soil contaminant testing were responsible for the delays in the project, according to Rick Dhanani, general manager of the trucking company, Expressway Transport, LLC.
Because of the environmental concerns, particularly with the Paluxy River being nearby, all of the contaminated dirt had to be removed and replaced. There is also a ground-based water tank on the adjacent city-owned property, although Dhanani said that tank was not being used.
Dhanani said that the results of the final soil samples required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality weren’t known until Monday, March 13.
“We got the go-ahead last Wednesday (March 15),” Dhanani told the Glen Rose Reporter by phone this Monday. “Now everybody is on the same page.”
The excavation was done by Emergency Environmental Services out of Fort Worth. The current work is called the restoration phase, and the target date for completion is April 4.
Dhanani also noted that communication between his company, contractors and insurance company consultants also took time to work out.
“The course of action, I don’t think, was delayed by anyone,” Dhanani said. “It was not intentionally done.”
Dhanani said that the process of testing for benzine and any other contaminants is time consuming. The soil samples have to be sent to an independent lab for testing.
“It’s a very complicated process,” Dhanani said. “The TCEQ has to go through the proper channels.”
The massive hole, which in some spots reportedly was as deep as 16 feet, will require a total of approximately 200 loads of replacement soil, called red till, hauled in by end dump trucks owned by Expressway Logistics of Waco.
Gibson said he was “really happy” when he saw that the workers began the task, but noted that the wait was “way too long.” He said the workers from Expressway Logistics doing the dirt work have seemed to be diligent in their approach to completing the job.
But he stated that he has “nothing good to say about” the trucking company, Expressway Transport, LLC., and has not been receiving updates from them.
“That’s all I asked for in this whole process, was to be informed,” said Gibson, who lives in the home with his girlfriend, Anna Kate, and his year-and-a-half old child. Not being able to use the circular driveway requires backing out into the busy Elm Street traffic — Highway 144 South — near the dangerous curve.
Dhanani said that his company, Expressway Transport, LLC, has a different owner than Expressway Logistics, although both are based in Waco.
Dhanani noted that the accident was covered by insurance, and the total cost of repairs to the property will exceed $500,000.
Gibson said insurance will also cover restoration of a circular driveway (paved, in part, on one side) that will extend behind the house. That will replace the driveway he and others who came to visit had been using before the incident.
“I really want Mr. Gibson to get his property restored the way it needs to be, and the insurance company assured me it will do that,” Dhanani said.
Even with that understanding, Gibson said, “We’re seeking compensation. I’m trying to determine the appropriate amount. It’s the struggle of having to deal with it, on top of the value of the property that was destroyed.”
Two test loads of dirt were moved in last Wednesday, Dhanani said, but the major work of the large “end dump” trucks began the next day.
Gibson indicated he thinks the excavation process was as thorough as could be expected.
“I think it will be as good as they’re going to get it, by the time it aired out,” Gibson said, adding that he also was told that the last samples tested were free of contaminants. “Certain spots, you can smell it, but I don’t think you will ever get all of it.”
Gibson grew up in the home when it was owned by his father, Stephen Gibson. He said the foundation of the wood-frame structure was built in the 1800s.
The problem of vehicles speeding, missing the curve and crashing into the property is nothing new, Gibson said. The number of vehicle accidents there was “too many to count,” he said.
He said that most recently, a motorcycle wiped out there, followed by a car crash in February. The car destroyed most of the second retaining wall, spraying what Gibson called “shrapnel” onto the front porch. That leaves only a large tree in the front yard as a barrier to any future accidents, until the new retaining wall is built.
“They’ve gotten through my fortress now,” Gibson observed. “Now they’re just going to run straight through to my house.”