Water gushed into homes, streets and businesses on a busy stretch of Wheaton, Maryland Wednesday afternoon after a 68-year-old water main burst -- and crews worked for more than a day to reopen Georgia Avenue.
Southbound lanes of Georgia Avenue near Shorefield Road in Wheaton had reopened by 10 p.m. Thursday, 33 hours after a water main break flooded streets with about 2.5 million gallons of water, according to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. That's the equivalent of almost four Olympic-size swimming pools.
"What a difference a day makes," the WSSC tweeted.
Crews repaired the water main overnight Thursday, but a large hole was still in the roadway early Thursday morning. The southbound lanes of Georgia Avenue were closed between Shorefield Road and Arcola Avenue. All traffic was using the northbound lanes.
"We are hopeful at this point it will be open by the morning," WSSC spokeswoman Lyn Riggins said late Thursday. "We're going to do the best we can. There is a lot of damage to the road."
The water main break occurred on Georgia Avenue between Shorefield Road and Henderson Avenue about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
One home with six people inside was evacuated as nearly knee-deep water rushed inside. Dr. Wajeed Khan was in his Georgia Avenue office when the water seeped indoors.
"It was truly was like the Mississippi River on both sides of the building, and like Lake Michigan in my office," he said.
The same section of Georgia Avenue flooded two previous times in the past year, Khan and Roger Ramirez, a resident of the flooded home, said.
"This is a classic example of aging infrastructure. When an older pipe like this breaks, we're putting a Band-Aid on it," Riggins said as workers worked to repair the pipe Wednesday evening.
The utility company plans to replace the pipe -- which was installed when Harry Truman was president -- "in the coming months," Riggins said.
WSSC will honor all claims for damage caused by the water main break, the company said.