All GW Parkway lanes back open after monthslong sinkhole fix

After more than five months of lane closures to repair a gaping sinkhole, commuters on Northern Virginia’s George Washington Parkway can breathe a little easier: The roadwork is finally done.

One of two northbound lanes of the parkway has been closed since May. Work near Dead Run has been completed and drivers can once again use both lanes as they approach the Capital Beltway, said the National Park Service in a Friday morning news release.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein observed around 7:30 a.m. that, indeed, the cones and barrels had been picked up.

“As I drove where the sinkhole had been, there is now smooth, new asphalt,” Augenstein said. “In fact, it’s smoother than most of the rest of the parkway.”

Repairs included the removal of a decades-old subterranean brick drainage structure and the installation of a new concrete drain pipe, requiring workers to dig down over 50 feet into the earth.

Workers were able to backfill the excavated area with concrete and resurface and repaint the road.

The National Park Service blamed a ruptured stormwater drain for the sinkhole, measuring in at about 10 feet deep and 30 feet long — roughly the size of a bus — before being patched up over the course of several months.

The lane closure has led to heavy backups along the 25-mile-long, heavily-trafficked route, especially for outbound travelers during afternoon commute.

Commuters can still expect some lane closures due to restoration work during off-peak hours throughout the course of several weeks.

Work on targeted repaving at night will continue on the George Washington Memorial and Clara Barton parkways through the fall, according to NPS.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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