A second sinkhole has opened up in Northeast Baltimore and will force another indefinite street closure, according to the Baltimore City Department of Transportation.
North Wolfe Street between North and East Lafayette avenues in the Broadway East neighborhood was shut down Tuesday night after a sinkhole opened up in the roadway, BCDT said.
Southbound traffic will be detoured left to North Avenue, right onto North Chester Street and at East Lafayette Avenue, then left back onto North Wolfe Street.
This stretch of North Wolfe will be closed indefinitely, BCDT said. Motorists should expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.
On Tuesday in neighboring East Baltimore Midway, a busy stretch of East North Avenue was also closed indefinitely after a sinkhole opened up in a sidewalk.
This sinkhole was reported Monday and forced several people from their residences.
At least three houses in the 700 block of East North Avenue need to be demolished immediately because their structures have been compromised, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said Tuesday afternoon at a news conference.
Only one of the properties was occupied, and no one was injured, Scott said, adding that the city will be assisting those displaced.
Upward of nine people total have been displaced, said Alice Kennedy, commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development.
The sinkhole was created in part by a weekend storm, officials said. However, the Department of Public Works will be investigating to determine what exactly created the sinkhole, Kennedy said.
Both directions of East North Avenue between Greenmount and Homewood avenues will be shut down indefinitely while crews work, Scott said. In addition to East North Avenue, according to a release from Baltimore’s Department of Transportation, “Wolfe Street will be closed to through traffic between North Avenue and E. Lafayette Avenue” as well.
East North Avenue is a main artery of the city, so motorists should expect delays, Scott said.
“But the most important thing is the safety of the folks who are working to make the repair and for folks traveling,” he said.
The immediate concern is a large drainage system, officials said.
“There are areas, issues with the storm drain system that DPW [Department of Public Works] is actively working to address that we brought in outside contractors to help expedite the process,” Scott said.
The city declared the area unsafe after DPW was notified about 5 p.m. Monday of a potential sinkhole, said Jason Mitchell, the department’s director.
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Crews have since been working around the clock to excavate a storm drain to allow rainwater to flow through the system, Mitchell said.
“We have our water main stabilized. We worked with our partners at BGE to cut off the gas and electric,” he said.
It’s a stone-arch storm drain that’s about 15 feet wide and approximately 115 years old, said Timothy Wolfe, chief of the Office of Engineering Construction.
“Once we clear out the material in the drain, we’re going to move back in tomorrow morning,” and do the second part of the assessment, Wolfe said, “so we can determine what the cause was.”
Detours are in place, with westbound traffic being rerouted at Homewood Avenue and eastbound traffic being diverted at Greenmount, according to the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. Bus routes for the Maryland Transit Administration might also be rerouted. Contact MTA for updates at 410-539-5000.
This article has been updated to correct which bus routes might be rerouted and how to contact the Maryland Transit Administration for updates. The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.