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3rd Street tunnel fully reopened after sinkhole forced closure

A water leak and sinkhole forced work on the tunnel that lasted six days.

WASHINGTON — D.C. Water and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) reopened the 3rd Street Tunnel and the I-395 roadway at around 11 p.m. Sunday, August 29. It comes after both agencies worked together to repair and restore the road when a broken water main flooded the road, and a sinkhole opened up.

It started in the early morning of Monday, August 23. D.C. Water first isolated the water main break to stop the flow of water into the tunnel.

The sinkhole in the 3rd Street Tunnel left many residents, churches and businesses without water or little to no water pressure for hours on August 23 as crews worked to assess what caused the sinkhole in the 3rd Street Tunnel at 4th and New York Avenue Northwest. Water was restored to all of the customers impacted by the incident as of 8 p.m., D.C. Water said.

Crews spent several days assessing damage and performing concrete and pavement repairs.

DDOT and D.C. Water workers performed a walkthrough of the tunnel for a final inspection on Sunday night before reopening the roadway around 11 p.m.

“We thank you for your patience,” David L. Gadis, DC Water’s CEO and General Manager, said in a release. “This has truly been a collaborative effort. Numerous agencies responded initially, and several have worked hand-in-hand as we diagnosed problems and planned and executed repairs this past week. DDOT inspectors were with us, approving repairs as we proceeded, which sped up the process and created a new model of agency coordination. We learned some valuable lessons that we will carry forward.”

Acting DDOT Director Everett Lott praised the work of both D.C. Water and DDOT to get the tunnel back open.

“I am incredibly proud of the hard work that the DDOT team has done over the last six days in lock step with DC Water, our colleagues at DC Homeland Security Agency and the Metropolitan Police Department,” said Lott said. “This water main break and the subsequent tunnel closure reminds us why Mayor Bowser’s commitment to strengthening our infrastructure is critical to the safety of our city and our region.”

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