Downtown D.C. Sink Hole Requires Complex Repairs

The area will be closed through the weekend as crews repair the broken storm drain.

The D.C. Department of Transportation reopened two southbound lanes of 14th Street between New York Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown D.C., but all northbound lanes remain closed due to a sink hole.

Complex repairs continued Thursday on the broken storm drain that caused the sink hole to open Tuesday, when underground concrete at 14th and F streets NW collapsed, falling 15 feet onto a sewer line and breaking the 54-inch, 116-year-old line. The concrete may have come from the road or from another utility casing, D.C. Water officials said.

A second hole developed about 30 feet away.

Adding to the complexity of the repair, a number of utility and old trolley tracks are above the broken sewer. D.C. Water says they will fix 30 feet of sewer line.

About three-fourths of the intersection will have to be excavated so crews can fix the broken storm drain. Wednesday, with the help of a crane, workers positioned a trench box into the hole, drawing a lot of attention from onlookers.

"Came to take a picture, but everyone in the office is talking about it," said commuter Matthew Hurson. "And I'm the lucky one -- 'Oh, you get to take Metro, Mr. Metro.'"

Hurson was not alone. Many opted for Metro, fearing the sink hole would cause gridlock. But, surprisingly, traffic moved smoothly through detour points Wednesday.

Crews are working around the clock to complete the repairs.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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