Metal plate on D.C. road may be a danger to commuters

14th Street sinkhole from May 2013

Even during off-peak hours, you can see brake lights heading into the District off of the 14th Street Bridge. But a major disruption could be lurking there.

For almost two years, that inconspicuous metal plate that you see as you come off the ramp from the 14th Street Bridge onto 395 has covered a crumbling sewer line. A similar situation that led to a fifteen-foot sinkhole on 14th Street a few weeks ago has many fearing the same thing will happen in this scenario.

“Ultimately it is going to destroy the subgrade, and everything beneath the surface is going to deteriorate,” said John Townsend of AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Repairing the sinkhole on 14th Street reportedly took the better part of a week, and unfortunately, it meant days of disruptions for commuters.

“Everyone is inconvenienced by that,” said a D.C. commuter named Tony D’Souza. “And you know, I think it is going to be an issue with this problem, too.”

D’Souza rides to work every day over the 14th Street Bridge and right past the metal plate. Along with transportation officials, he is urging the District to make major repairs soon – before 395 sees the kind of traffic trauma the recent sinkhole inflicted.

“If things like that are not taken care of, you see what happens,” said D’Souza. “They need to fix the problem before it gets more severe.”