Botched Installation Caused River Road Rapids 44 Years Later

BETHESDA, Md. -- As much as we like to blame the weather for our water main breaks, the massive rupture that turned a Bethesda road into a raging river was caused by an incorrectly installed pipe, according to a report.

The December water main break sent a wave of water down River Road, trapping motorists in their cars who had to be rescued by helicopters and boats.

A forensic analysis released Wednesday found that the 66-inch pipe was installed directly against a rock, which led to cracks and corrosion. The contractor that installed the pipe 44 years ago failed to cushion it in a bed of gravel, the report said.

Teresa Daniell, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission's interim general manager, said the findings raise concerns about whether there are similar problems in the 5,500-mile system.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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