GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Maryland transportation officials announced Friday that repair work is complete on the sinkhole that opened up in June on I-270 in Gaithersburg.
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) announced that work on the sinkhole located along southbound I-270 prior to I-370 was completed and that that all travel lanes of the highway have been reopened. They say the right shoulder will remain closed because additional work will be required off the main roadway after the holiday weekend.
The sinkhole was first discovered on June 15, prompting officials to close down the two right lanes of the highway to traffic. Officials had not provided a timeline for the repairs, but the work was completed in just over two weeks.
Officials said the sinkhole formed after an underground corrugated drainage pipe failed. The drainage pipe failure was first indicated by a small surface hole on the roadway, which upon further investigation, was found to have created a dangerous and unstable 20-foot by 15-foot by 12-foot cavern beneath the surface.
The pipe failure presented a major challenge to MDOT SHA due to the significant erosion and loss of soil under the right travel lanes on southbound I-270.
Officials said they are thankful the repairs were completed in time for the busy holiday weekend.
"Most people weren’t aware of the enormity of the problem caused by this failed pipe and collapsed roadway," said MDOT Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. "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."
"We appreciate the extraordinary patience that drivers provided us during this emergency repair and are happy to have all travel lanes reopened," said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith. "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."
In total, the repairs cost approximately $425,000.