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Overnight sinkhole repairs in Bladensburg begin Thursday

Wednesday - 2/29/2012, 3:45pm  ET

Annapolis Road Route 450 sinkhole (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Repairs on Annapolis Road/Route 450 are expected to start sometime Wednesday. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

UPDATE:

Route 450 in Bladensburg at the Peace Cross reopened Wednesday afternoon after crews filled the sinkhole and covered it with steel plates.

The road will be open to traffic during the day Thursday and Friday.

Repairs on the 12-inch water main will occur during the night, between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., beginning Thursday.

Wednesday - 2/29/2012, 12:50pm ET

BLADENSBURG, Md. - A water main break last week is to blame for the 8 foot by 10 inch deep sinkhole that closed westbound Route 450 at the Peace Cross in Bladensburg Wednesday morning.

When the 12-inch water main break occurred Feb. 15, the repairs were put on a "to do eventually" list, says Washington Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission spokesman I.J. Hudson.

Instead, the WSSC turned off the water and patched the road.

"They put a patch over the break and a contractor was supposed to come out on the next day, on the 16th, and fix that break and then pave that over. Apparently, that didn't happen. We don't know why at this point, but the patch over the break failed overnight," Hudson tells WTOP.

The road closure struck at the height of the morning rush hour and impacted drivers starting at Upshur Street. The eastbound lanes were not affected.

Repairs are expected to start sometime Wednesday morning, but WSSC is not certain when and for how long the road will be closed.

"We apologize for the inconvenience," Hudson says.

The repairs include fixing a valve and the 12-inch main, Hudson says.

He says the sinkhole highlights the problem of having to repair aging and failing pipes, rather than replacing them.

"You have a certain number of assets and a certain budget. What comes first?" He asks.


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