Eastbound U Street reopened
Update 6:28pm: Eastbound U Street has reopened.
Update 6pm: The flow of water from a broken valve near U Street and Florida Ave. is subsiding, but not before frightening residents of English basements in the area, who feared flooding. Residents near U Street and possibly Adams Morgan should expect their water to be cut off, an official said, as DC Water is now digging in the street to repair the valve.
"The whole street was a river," said resident Miguel Aguero, 44, of the 1700 block of U Street. "The main concern was I could see it going into English basements." Some residents in English basements could be seen pulling trash cans, bricks, pieces of wood and anything else they could get their hands on and dragging them to the entrances of their homes to try to keep the water at bay. Aguero said the water reached to the top of the first step of his apartment's entrance.
Some water appeared to be flowing east on U Street, gathering sand and dirt in the process, and leaving some cars stuck in rocks and mud.
Aguero said he saw a "John Deere-style truck" that appeared to be drilling earlier today near the site of the break, but it wasn't a DC Water truck. He wondered if it could be involved in somehow causing the rupture.
The water main break has reduced water pressure and cut off water to some parts of Northwest near Connecticut and Columbia Roads, and residents have been advised of a six to eight hour wait for repairs.
--Phillip Lucas and Derek Kravitz
Update 5:25pm: Where there's smoke, there's... water? Shortly after a large water main burst in the area, there were reports of smoke coming from manholes near 16th Street. Firefighters checked for flooding of nearby businesses and homes, and there did not appear to be much damage. Georgetown residents, however, could experience low water pressure; the line that burst connects to that neighborhood.
Update 5:13pm: Lieutenant John Hedgecock with the 2nd District said a water main broke about 4 p.m. near Florida Ave. where it meets U and 17th St. Water began gushing out at a high rate and then slowed, causing concern that the water might be seeping into the basements of nearby businesses and homes. Firefighters are now going door-to-door to check.
EMS spokesman Pete Piringer says the water flow is under control, but now some manholes may be emitting smoke. Florida Ave. is closed from U Street to California Ave.
Original post: The break of a 20-inch water main near the intersection of U Street and Florida Ave. NW, near the 1700 block of U Street, has caused significant flooding and shut down the area near that intersection, according to DC emergency officials.
Florida Ave. is closed between 16th and 18th Streets, DDOT said, and U Street between 16th and 18th.
Fire officials are checking nearby buildings for structural damage. "Water flow is uncontrolled at this time," according to EMS spokesman Pete Piringer.
(Photo credit: DDOT)
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