Southbound I-270 Near Sinkhole Has Reopened

Photos from MDOT SHA

MDOT SHA says emergency repair work has been completed.

Gaithersburg, Md. (KM) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration says the it has completed the emergency work along Interstate 270 southbound prior to I-370 in the Gaithersburg area. where a sinkhole opened up, and all lanes have reopened to traffic. It took crews two weeks to do the work which included the repair of a drainage pipe. .

“Most people weren’t’ aware of the enormity of the problem caused by the failed pipe and collapsed roadway,” says MDOT Secretary Jim Ports, in a statement. “I have the ultimate respect and praise for the entire SHA team for its focus on working hard to return this heavily traveled commuter route back to its normal level of service and to ensure safe travel for the Montgomery County residents who depend on it every day.”

On June 15th, the two right lanes along southbound I-270 were closed after the sinkhole opened. Motorists were urged to use Route 355.

MDOT SHA says the drainage  pipe failure was noticed when a small surface hole appeared on the highway. But it was actually a dangerous and unstable 20-foot by 15-foot by 12-foot cavern beneath the surface. Crews say the failed drainage pipe presented a problem due to significant erosion and loss of soil under the right lanes on southbound I-270. The contractor, Concrete General of Gaithersburg, completed the emergency repair work at a cost of $425,000.

Even though that repair work has been completed, MDOT SHA says the shoulder still remains closed. Crews will need to do some additional work off the main highway after the holiday weekend.

“We appreciate the extraordinary patience that drivers provided us during this emergency and are happy to have all travel lanes reopened,” says MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith, in a statement. “The reopening of the lanes before the busy Fourth of July holiday is a testament to the skill and determination of crews that performed extraordinary work to complete the repair.”

By Kevin McManus