Residents return to homes on Piscataway Drive despite warnings

Piscataway Drive is closed after a partial road collapse and water line break. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — Return at your own risk. That’s the message from Prince George’s County to residents choosing to ignore a mandatory evacuation in Fort Washington because of a slow motion landslide known as a slope failure.

Despite the slope continuing to slide, residents of about 15 of the 28 homes under mandatory evacuations on Piscataway Drive in the Piscataway Hills neighborhood have asked the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to turn their water back on. That’s a first step required by the county to facilitate resident’s return.

“We want to make sure that all those residents understand how unsafe the area is,” says Prince George’s County Executive Spokesman Barry Hudson.

Returning residents will not be able to drive to their homes.

“Because that road is very dangerous,” Hudson says.

Failing slopes and ground movement is impacting about a 1,500-foot section of the hills along Piscataway Drive. That’s considered a direct threat to six homes. It’s unclear whether residents of any of those homes are among those choosing to return.

Twenty-two other homes along Piscataway Drive have had disruptions to power, water supply, communications and other services because of the shifting ground.

A preliminary geological survey of the situation offers the county three options for repairs to the slope failure.

ABC7 reports that a cost analysis has to be done on those options, then a solution has to be chosen and paid for before any work is done to stabilize the slope.

Mandatory evacuations happened in early May when pavement started cracking and trees began toppling on a portion of the slope. There’s been no word yet from the county regarding a timeline for when attempts at geological solutions may allow the area to be deemed safe.

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