No opening date set for GW Parkway lane closed by sinkhole

One lane of the northbound George Washington Parkway will remain closed indefinitely, as the National Park Service continues to develop a long-term fix for the sinkhole that opened up last month.

In the latest effort to put together plans for a more permanent solution that would prevent yet another collapse, a robotic camera was used to inspect pipes buried deep below the surface.

The National Park Service completely closed the northbound lanes for several days on May 10 from Va. Route 123 to the Capital Beltway after a U.S. Park police officer spotted a sinkhole. It measured 10 feet deep, 30 feet long and 20 feet wide.

One of the two northbound lanes reopened to traffic May 14 after employing temporary stabilization efforts, including an injection of grout to stabilize the soil. The right lane remains closed due to a failing 60-year-old, 40-foot deep brick drainage inlet. 

“The National Park Service is working to reopen the right lane near Dead Run as soon as possible,” spokesman Jonathan Shafter said in an email. “We are in the process of designing a long-term fix, but we do not have a date for completing repairs.”

The Park Service has said the extensive fixes could require lengthy, complete closures of the northbound lanes and even one southbound lane of the parkway. Those closures would be announced in advance.

The May sinkhole was the second time in less than two months that part of the road collapsed in the same area. A 10-foot deep, 12-foot wide and 30-foot long sinkhole opened up in March near a damaged stormwater pipe near Dead Run.

The National Park Service filled that hole and poured new asphalt on top.

Below is a map of where the latest sinkhole is located:

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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