Ft. Washington Evacuations May Last Weeks, Officials Say

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. (WUSA9) -- Maryland's chief geologist said Tuesday a 1500 foot, slow-motion landslide that has forced the evacuation of 28 homes is still moving.

"You can measure it with a ruler," said Richard Ortt Jr.

The slide, which began moving substantially Friday, has dropped Piscataway Drive by as much as 4 feet, cut water and sewer lines, and brought down large trees that have crushed utilities in the area.

Four homes are directly threatened with possible damage if further shifting. Twenty-four others are cut off from utilities. All have been declared unlivable by the Prince George's County Department of Inspections Permitting and Enforcement

Meanwhile, Pepco crews turned off the power to all homes in the evacuation zone late Tuesday, said Scott Peterson, a spokesman for Prince George's County.

"We don't think the will be days. It will be weeks," said Gary Cunningham of the county's DPIE.

The landslide must be stabilized before repairs to utilities and the road can proceed. Engineers have not yet announced a strategy for how to stop the earth from moving.

The moving slope sits over a geologic formation called the Marlboro Clay, which is known for being impervious to water and prone to motion.

Residents say there is a long history of cracking in the roadway and utility problems.

The most recent episode began with water line breaks Friday and Saturday and further slipping Sunday that rendered the road impassable and brought trees down on utility lines.


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