The Monday morning highway headaches were compounded by a large pothole that opened up on bridge that carries Interstate 295 over South Capitol Street.

Rush-hour traffic back ups rippled in all directions as District work crews temporarily shut down one lane of traffic while steel plates were moved in place to cover the hole in the southbound lanes. Southbound South Capitol Street was also closed while the crews made the repair.

“It looks like it was a fairly large pothole, but when they’re on a bridge that’s a bigger problem,” said John Lisle of the District Department of Transportation.

He said it was uncertain what caused the hole but that it may have been concrete base deterioration and failure.

Lisle said repair work has been underway all year long on many of the District’s estimated 230 bridges.

“Basically, after we had two or three holes on bridges earlier this year, we went out and inspected all of them,” Lisle said. “There are a number of small bridges along 295 that we’ve been making repairs on.”

With a steel plate now covering the hole, Lisle said it should pose no problems for evening commuters. He said Martins Construction already has been working on the northbound deck repair and has just begin repairing southbound deck.