UPDATE: Sinkhole closes I-95 downtown exit

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - From the NBC12 First Warning Traffic Center, the ramp from I-95 North to Broad Street in downtown Richmond is closed because of a sinkhole.

Exits 74B and 74C (Broad Street) at I-95 north in Richmond will remain closed through noon tomorrow while crews repair road damage as the result of a ruptured storm water drainage pipe. Crews will replace the cracked pipe today and will return tomorrow morning to repave the area with asphalt. This permanent fix will prevent VDOT from having to close the ramp at a later date for repairs.

Drivers are encouraged to use Chamberlayne Avenue (Exit 76A) to Belvidere Street to access Broad Street. Drivers can also take the Downtown Expressway (Exit 74A—toll) to access downtown Richmond. Expect afternoon rush hour delays.

It started as a pot hole and quickly became a gaping hole on busy Interstate 95. The ground collapsed, with about 5 feet of the earth underneath it washed away.

All of it proving to be a major challenge for VDOT crews and the cars that suffered flat tires from it.

"I've never seen anything in my couple of years here, like that," says VDOT spokeswoman Taya Jarman. "Underneath is completely gone from the manhole all the way over to the jersey wall."

The reality is to fix this, engineers, construction crews, everyone, is needed to start from below the ground, up.

"In order for us to restore the pavement, we have to build up the earth," says Jarman.

This is not the first time this week alone, crews have been called out here. Crews were out Sunday Evening temporarily patching up the area.

VDOT did not know the earth underneath the ground was likely gone and they say there was no way to know things were so bad. Then, on Monday Morning, several cars fell victim to the hole which continued to get bigger.

So now, crews are working all day long for a permanent fix. "We are not going to reopen the ramp until it's completely safe," says Jarman.

A plan that left people finding a detour during their Monday commute.

Stay with NBC12 for continuous updates on this story as they become available.

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