Water main break affects activities in heart of District
Saturday, October 16, 2010; 11:31 PM
The break of a water main near the Mall is guaranteed to bring trouble. The big break that occurred Friday night shut down a sizable portion of Constitution Avenue NW on Saturday and it closed the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
That meant postponing opening day at the museum of the "Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef" exhibit, a splendidly colorful display melding higher mathematics, handicraft and undersea biology.
Behind the disruption was the rupture of a 24-inch water main, which ripped up the roadbed near 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, according to D.C. Water and Sewer Authority spokeswoman Pamela Mooring.
The water main, installed in 1928, is "pretty large" for a system in which most pipes are 8 or 12 inches in diameter, Mooring said. We had "a lot of water coming out," she said, and roadway damage appeared substantial.
Constitution Avenue was closed from Ninth Street to 12th, and part of 10th was closed in that area as well. Traffic was still restricted Saturday night, and it was not immediately clear when the roads would reopen completely.
Mooring said it was possible that work would continue through Sunday. She said workers expected to make a temporary street repair that would allow Monday morning traffic to flow unimpeded. Full repair would wait until next weekend, she said.
It was not clear if the museum would reopen today, but the handcrafted coral exhibit is scheduled to run through April 24.