UPDATE: Sinkhole repair to continue through evening rush

By Laura Geller & Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) –  New information Tuesday afternoon about the massive sinkhole on I-95 North at the Broad Street exit. We're told from VDOT the work to fix the hole is going to continue through rush hour.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said one pipe was badly damaged and rusted, but crews had to cut through a second one to reach it for repair. They are working to replace the top (good) pipe, and then backfill and repave. The asphalt crew should be in place late this afternoon.

The five-foot deep hole opened on the Broad Street exit ramps yesterday morning.

VDOT has given us a few reasons why this happened. They include: an unusual location for such a thing to happen and the bitter cold temperatures. Crews worked well into the night to replace the ruptured drainage pipe that caused the sinkhole. But, there will still be work to complete when the sun rises.

The storm drainage pipe that busted open wreaked havoc on the ground below.

"All the earth that was underneath the road has completely washed out," said VDOT Spokesperson Dawn Eischen.

That gaping hole requires a very serious fix that has the thousands of drivers who take the Broad Street exit ramps finding their usual routes blocked.

"They had to put in a completely new pipe. They have to put some rocks and some more dirt into the hole to pack it in and then they have to asphalt overlay," Eischen said.

This is a very unusual situation for VDOT. Crews need to do a lot of work underground, so it takes a lot of extra time.

"This isn't something we want to just throw a little something over it and call it a day," said Eischen. "We really want to make sure this is a permanent fix."

Crews are also battling Mother Nature.  he freezing temperatures ruled out overnight work when fewer cars are on the road.

"The temperature is going to stay cold, no matter what, but we prefer to do the asphalt overlay during the day when the sun is out," said Eischen. "The pavement is a little bit warmer and it will cure much better."

On the bright side while drivers may be inconvenienced right now, VDOT hopes this will be a permanent solution and should prevent any future ramp closures.

For right now though, if you take the Broad Street exits off I-95 North, you'll have to plan a different route. VDOT has had to push back the timeline for reopening the ramps. Right now, it says Tuesday afternoon is when the work should be complete.

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