Road closures continue after massive water main break floods homes, street in Wheaton

A heads up to drivers - southbound lanes of Georgia Avenue in Wheaton are still closed at Randolph Road due to a major water main break.

Road closures continue Thursday morning after a water man break in Montgomery County left homes and roads flooded.

The break happened at around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday at Georgia Avenue between Shorefield Road and Henderson Avenue in the Wheaton area.

According to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, the damaged pipe is a 16-inch main that is 68 years old.

Crews eventually reached the pipe at around 8 p.m. Wednesday and found that a 3-foot stretch had to be replaced.

Several homes in the area were evacuated due to flooding.

Roger Ramirez told FOX 5 that his children came running from the bedroom telling him water was gushing in through a closed window from Georgia Avenue at their basement apartment. The family had to leave their home and will likely be spending their holiday weekend in temporary housing provided by the Red Cross. It is the second time a water main break has forced them from their apartment as the same pipe burst back in November.

"With a 68-year-old pipe, [there is] absolutely no assurance that it won't break again," said Lyn Riggins of WSSC. "But I can assure you that it's going to be replaced. We replace about 55 miles of water main each year. This stretch of pipe here on Georgia Avenue is one that's going to be replaced in the coming months -- for the very reason that we've had several breaks here. Aging infrastructure causes all kinds of problems."

According to WSSC, the landlord made the claim for damages after that first water main break. This time, the utility is working directly with the Ramirez family to help with their costs.

WSSC said 42 customers were without water Wednesday evening, but water service returned at around 11:25 p.m. Wednesday.

Southbound lanes of Georgia Avenue were shut down for hours Wednesday afternoon between Randolph Road and Arcola Avenue while crews worked to dig down to the pipe and make repairs. Later in the evening, one southbound lane reopened to traffic. After repairs are finished, the road will then have to be repaved. At this time, crews say a major protion of the road will remain closed through the Thursday morning rush hour commute.

The Westfield Wheaton shopping mall was closed Wednesday after water was shut off there.

WSSC said 2.5 million gallons of water were lost due to the break.


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