Sinkhole repairs near White House drag on

EDITOR’S NOTE 5:33 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect new information from PEPCO.

WASHINGTON — Crews in the District are digging into a busy roadway and shoring up the area around a large hole that opened up on 17th Street, Northwest, about a block from the White House.

According to DC Water, an underground sewer line was damaged and must be repaired before the hole can be patched up.

“Below the asphalt on the surface, there is concrete underneath,” explained DC Water spokesman John Lisle. “A large section of that concrete fell and crushed the sewer.”

Earlier, DC Water told WTOP repairs are “complicated” because, in addition to the sewer line, there are power lines underground with “230,000 volts of electricity [running] through that section.”

PEPCO later clarified to WTOP that they “have two, 13 kilovolt lines that were damaged by this incident and are currently deenergized.”

The power company will reenergize them once the sewer is repaired.

Crews will then fill the hole with dirt and restore the surface of the road.

They hope to be completely done with the project by late next week.

Until then, 17th Street remains closed between C and E streets. D Street is also between 15th and 17th streets.

“It’s best for folks to continue to avoid that area,” said Lisle. “It’s a regular commuting route for a lot of people and hopefully they’re able to find their way around it without too much trouble.”

The cause of the hole is not yet known.

“Our priority is repairing the roadway and getting everything back to normal. Then we’ll try to figure out what led to this,” said Lisle.

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