- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003

A collapsed side street off M Street NW will cause traffic delays today in Georgetown, a popular weekend destination, and on the nearby Francis Scott Key Bridge that goes to Virginia, D.C. officials said.

The accident occurred in the unit block of Bank Street near M Street where crews from the Kadcon Construction Co. had dug a 50-foot-deep hole for a shopping center and underground parking garage.

Investigators have not said whether the digging caused the 40-foot section of street to fall away Wednesday at 6:50 p.m.

"The cause is still unknown," said George Rizk, a Kadcon vice president. "The important thing is nobody got hurt."

He also said it will take a couple days to repair the street and seven months to complete the construction project.

This is nothing new to Georgetown residents and motorists who drive on busy M Street, which has almost as many metal plates as asphalt and has been the site of numerous manhole explosions in recent years.

"This street is always jammed," said Meg DeWolf, 58, who was on her daily five-mile walk from her home near Logan Circle.

Traffic has been snarled since Wednesday night and the situation is expected to continue while repair trucks block M Street.

"There will be some additional delays because the trucks are backing in to dump loads of dirt," said Bill Rice, D.C. Transportation Division spokesman.

About 26,000 vehicles use the east-west street each day.

Authorities have also spotted water coming from a nearby pipe and sewer main and are investigating whether a leak contributed to the collapse.

Authorities are also concerned about the possibility of other collapses that could damage M Street, which is about 10 feet away from the excavation. A temporary construction wall has also been erected.

"Driving M Street is awful," said Katrine Foegh, 31, a tax lawyer from Denmark.

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