Updated at 10:00 a.m. Saturday
Crews worked through the night to repair the sinkhole on the George Washington Parkway, officials said. They said additional work was needed, including on the drainage system, but they were hopeful the road would be open to at least some traffic by Monday.
Updated at 4:39 p.m.
Northbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway will close for the weekend after a 10-foot-deep sinkhole opened on the side of the road, officials said.
A driver traveling northbound in the right lane just before 6 a.m. Friday hit the sinkhole, then struck a stone wall before coming to rest off the side of the road, the National Park Service said. The driver declined medical treatment.
The road was closed in both directions for nearly five hours near Turkey Run Park in McLean, causing traffic to back up during the morning rush. The southbound lanes reopened about 11 a.m. as northbound traffic continued to be diverted onto Chain Bridge Road.
The sinkhole is about 12 feet wide and 30 feet long, according to the Park Service, which maintains the parkway. Crews will assess the extent of damage beneath the road and make repairs this weekend after finishing excavation work.
“The National Park Service is cautiously hopeful that some travel may be permitted by Monday,” the agency said in a statement.
The sinkhole was caused by a broken concrete storm water pipe deep in the ground. The collapse was not related to the road’s surface or the condition of the parkway, said Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Video from a television helicopter showed workers measuring the depth of the sinkhole.
The 25-mile parkway runs mostly along the Potomac River in Virginia between Mount Vernon and the Capital Beltway via Alexandria and McLean. About 70,000 vehicles use the road on an average day, depending on location and day of the week.
The Park Service said sinkholes are common in the Washington area and are often preceded by heavy rain. The 2.69 inches of rain measured Thursday at Dulles International Airport was the most on record for a March day.
Many roads in the Washington region have seen their share of troubles this season, mainly because of potholes. A recent freeze-thaw pattern brought ideal conditions for pothole formation.
On the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland, officials lowered the speed limit from 55 mph to 40 mph along a stretch of the road because potholes made it unsafe to drive faster.
Updated at 4:01 p.m.
A 10-foot-deep sinkhole that is 12-feet wide and 30-feet long prompted officials to close the road for five hours Friday morning near Turkey Run Park. Southbound lanes later reopened, but the National Park Service said northbound lanes will stay closed through the weekend so road crews and engineers can assess the extent of the sinkhole and repair the road.
Updated at 11:09 a.m.
All lanes along the southbound side of the George Washington Parkway have reopened but the northbound side remains closed, and traffic is being diverted at Chain Bridge Road.
There was an earlier problem with a sinkhole that had the parkway shut down.
The sinkhole sits near the northbound lanes on the side and engineers said it is about 10-feet deep.
Updated at 10:25 a.m.
The George Washington Parkway’s southbound lanes near Turkey Run Park are expected to reopen soon, but the northbound side will remain closed for an extended period after a sinkhole caused the entire roadway to shutdown for roughly four hours.
The sinkhole sits close to the northbound side of the parkway and experts closed the road on both sides to have crews figure out if there was any major damage underneath the lanes.
Officials with the National Park Service said on Twitter that the southbound side of the road is “in the process of reopening.” Transportation engineers have “determined the sinkhole does not pose immediate risk to the southbound lanes.
But the northbound side of the parkway is likely to remain closed longer. Officials have not said exactly how long the road will be closed.
Original post at 6 a.m.
All lanes in both directions of the George Washington Parkway near Turkey Run Park are closed due to a sinkhole, causing long traffic delays on both Chain Bridge Road and the Capital Beltway.
Officials with the U.S. Park Police said the parkway is likely to remain closed through at least the morning rush. Northbound traffic is being diverted at Chain Bridge Road and delays are building. Southbound traffic is being diverted at the Beltway, forcing cars onto the American Legion Bridge.
Transportation officials warned that drivers should take other routes and expect heavy traffic.
Park Service officials have not said exactly what size the sinkhole is but there are reports that it is estimated to be about three feet wide and up to eight feet deep. The sinkhole sits on the side of the road and crews are at the scene and checking to see if there is damage underneath the roadway.
Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said on Twitter that crews from her agency, along with firefighters from Fairfax County and additional experts, were being brought in to look at the “extent of [the] damage.”
How long the repairs will take has not been determined, but transportation officials warned it will likely be closed for an “extended period.”
Anzelmo-Sarles said the sinkhole appears to be caused by a “broken storm water pipe deep below ground.” She also said it is “unrelated to the road surface or condition of the GW Parkway.”
There’s a problem with another route in Maryland.
Parts of Beach Drive in Montgomery County are closed due to high water.
And in the District, part of the southbound side of Interstate 295 is closed because of “heavy rain erosion,” according to D.C. police. It’s not clear how long the roadway will be closed.
Commuters in the region shared their concerns and frustrations at the road conditions, especially along the GW Parkway, on social media.