14th, F Streets remain closed due to sinkhole

It has been another long and busy day at the downtown intersection of 14th and F Streets NW on Thursday where a massive sinkhole opened up Tuesday.

"It's not going to be done over the next few hours, but our goal is to get in, make the road safe, make sure the pipe is secure, getting things put together and move on," says Charles Kiely, D.C. Water site manager.

Repairs to the sinkhole, which undermined the roadway at 14th and F streets NW Tuesday afternoon, will involve the excavation of 30 feet of sewer line that needs to be fixed, spokesman John Lisle says.

A DC Water sewer investigator on Wednesday determined that concrete from above had collapsed a large section of a 54-inch diameter brick combined sewer line. The concrete may have come from the road itself or from another utility casing.

This sewer is 15 feet below the road surface and was built in 1897.

As this activity continues, 14th Street NW between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and New York Avenue NW and F Street NW between 13th and 15th Streets NW will stay closed.

The sidewalks and crosswalks along 14th Street NW and F Street NW remain open.

The site in the middle of normally busy 14th Street has attracted lots of sidewalk gawkers, too.

A DDOT spokeswoman tells ABC7 that metal plates had been in the intersection since march 2011 because DDOT noticed a hole in the street. But, apparently, no effort was ever made to fix it.

D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells, who came to the scene today, did not like that:

"We put a timeline and a fee, fine wherever Pepco or someone puts plates down, because we want them gone as soon as possible," Wells says. "Plates are temporary. They are not permanent parts of our infrastructure. It doesn't make any sense at all. DDOT's going to have to explain that."

Workers are also focusing on another nearby area that had been under a steel plate where there's been soil erosion. Fortunately, there is no sewer beneath that spot.

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