Water Main Break Ties Up Traffic on Rockville Pike

Friday, Jan 24, 2014  |  Updated 5:52 PM EDT
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A portion of Rockville Pike is closed after a water main break flooded an intersection near White Flint Mall in North Bethesda.

A portion of Rockville Pike is closed after a water main break flooded an intersection near White Flint Mall in North Bethesda.

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A broken water main that tied up traffic and left a portion of Rockville Pike an icy mess Friday turned out to be more difficult to fix than expected.

The 16-inch main ruptured on Rockville Pike near White Flint Mall around 3 a.m. Friday, officials said. The road was closed in both directions for several hours, with the northbound lanes re-opening around 8:30 a.m. One southbound lane remained closed at 5 p.m.

WSSC said the pipe was difficult to reach, and workers managed to get to it late Friday afternoon, News4's Kristin Wright reported. It also took hours to get the water shut off.

"We have valves that sometimes we call them tricky valves -- that's another way to say that they're old valves -- and sometimes the gears have been stripped," said Jerry Irvine of WSSC.

At one point, water from the broken main spilled across the roadway. Friday's frigid temperatures, which WSSC believes caused the break, quickly turned the water into ice, leaving treacherous sheets of ice on parts of the road.

The closures and ice resulted in gridlock along many side streets in the area.

The owner of Dryclean Expo on the Pike expects to take a huge financial hit. They were unable to clean clothes for pickup Friday and are worried the road closures may have prevented potential customers from dropping off clothing.

No estimate for completion has been given.

 

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