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Water Main Break Shuts Down Connecticut Ave. At Dupont Circle

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Crews moved in with sand and bulldozers to clean up after a water main break soaked the intersection of Connecticut Ave. and N Street NW Thursday morning.
Armando Trull
Crews moved in with sand and bulldozers to clean up after a water main break soaked the intersection of Connecticut Ave. and N Street NW Thursday morning.

A large water main break is causing problems on Connecticut Avenue NW near Dupont Circle, both snarling traffic and causing a disruption in water service for many buildings in the area.

The water main break at the intersection of Connecticut Ave and N Street NW caused a huge section of the street to buckle. Dark brown water bubbled up from underneath the road and flowed onto the sidewalk and nearby restaurants and parking garages. 

Authorities closed off the intersection, as well as the southbound side of Connecticut Avenue starting on the north side of Dupont Circle, including the tunnel beneath the circle. Traffic is likely to be tied up for much of the day as authorities begin to repair this water main break. 

The break is also affecting nearby buildings. Inside the building at 1250 Connecticut Avenue NW, D.C. firefighters tried to determine how to get rid of several feet of water around electrical junction boxes, as well as flooding in several levels of an adjacent parking garage underground.

Firefighters are shoveling away debris from in front of the building, and a bulldozer is carting it off. That building, along with 1130 Connecticut and 1200 18th Street NW were evacuated.

DC Water reports that as many as 35 commercial properties will be affected for much of the day, including those on Connecticut Ave. between N Street and Jefferson Place NW, N Street between Connecticut Avenue and 18th Street NW, and the east side of Connecticut Avenue between N Street and 1301 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Rob Davenport, who works at the building next door to where the sink hole is now gaping on Connecticut, was out on the sidewalk checking out the damage this morning. "We haven't heard much, just that we don't have any air or water right now," Davenport said.

Rebecca Gainer works on the 6th floor of 1250 Connecticut Ave. "Right now it looks like we are not going to be getting back into our building for quite some time, so we may be starting our weekend early," Gainer said.

Emergency personnel also have some concerns about the stability of the road after the break; they believe the water may have undermined some of the foundations under the street, and so the road is closed to all traffic, including pedestrians.

It's not clear at this time when water service will be restored or when the road will reopen. 

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