COMMUTE ALERT: Sinkhole to Keep Stretch of I-694 Closed 'Until Further Notice'

December 04, 2017 07:56 AM

A large water main break in Oakdale that caused a giant sinkhole on Interstate 694 in Oakdale Sunday morning will affect the Monday commute. 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed the interstate in both directions between 10th Street and 34th Street at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday. By Sunday evening, MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said the closure would affect five miles of freeway, from Interstate 94 in Woodbury to Highway 36 in Oakdale, until further notice.

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CHOPPER 5 VIDEO: Interstate 694 Sinkhole

Nearly 100,000 drivers a day will be affected by the closure and resulting detours. MnDOT said in a release Sunday evening motorists should use the following detours while the road is closed:

  • Northbound traffic should detour heading west on Interstate 94, then north to I-35E. 
  • Southbound traffic should take Highway 36 west to I-35E and then south to I-94

KSTP Traffic Reporter Josie Smith said the ramp allowing drivers on eastbound I-694 to take eastbound Highway 36 was also closed Monday morning.

Monday morning, Gutknecht said drivers could access southbound I-694 via 10th Street and northbound I-694 at 34th/County Road 14/Old Highway 5.

The transportation department suggests motorists plan ahead and use alternate routes. MnDOT's 511 system provides real-time traffic information.

The leak was so large, it washed out the foundation under part of I-694 and affected everything above it for two miles.

"It looks like there is a walking tunnel underneath," Gutknecht said.

Michelle Stark, a spokesperson for the Oakdale Police Department, said the first sign of a problem came when alarms went off at the Public Works Department. Then, a resident along Hallmark Avenue called to report damp property.

"That's when we were really alerted and discovered a strong flowing water and where the impact was, which was the sinkhole," Stark said. 

Stark said the culprit was a 12-inch-in-diameter pipe that runs below the 15th Street overpass and connects with the municipal water supply.  As a result of the leak, Oakdale residents face issues with dwindling water pressure.  

Traffic cameras showed the sinkhole had developed between lanes on the highway near the 15th Street North bridge. 

The transportation department says it needs to ensure the leak is stopped before it can begin repairing the sinkhole. Then, crews will cut pavement, dig and replace the foundation. The work could take several days, Gutknecht said.

Authorities also said some homeowners in the area were without water and officials asked those in the area who still had water to conserve it.

The sinkhole and resulting closure comes a day before a drastic swing in weather and temperature. KSTP Meteorologist Jonathan Yuhas says Monday will begin mild, with a chance of sun and 50 degrees by noon. But then precipitation and heavy winds move in. By the time the evening commute reaches its peak, rain could turn to snow as the temperature plummets, potentially causing slippery roads. 

KSTP Traffic Reporter Josie Smith has the latest details during 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Morning. 

Click here for the latest traffic updates

Stay tuned to KSTP.com and 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS for updates.

 

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Andrew Heiser, Michael Oakes and Beth McDonough

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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