Policy: Environment & Energy

Collapsed street may stay evacuated for weeks

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Photo - Cars sit on the edge of a sinkhole in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore, Wednesday, April 30, 2014, as heavy rain moves through the region. Road closures have been reported due to flooding, downed trees and electrical lines elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic. The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings through Wednesday afternoon in Washington, northern Virginia and central Maryland. (AP Photo)
Cars sit on the edge of a sinkhole in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore, Wednesday, April 30, 2014, as heavy rain moves through the region. Road closures have been reported due to flooding, downed trees and electrical lines elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic. The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings through Wednesday afternoon in Washington, northern Virginia and central Maryland. (AP Photo)
Local,Maryland,Energy and Environment

BALTIMORE (AP) — People who live in houses on a block where the street collapsed during a rainstorm may have to be kept out of their homes for up to 40 days, Baltimore officials said Thursday.

Kevin Harris, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said he did not know how many houses or people are affected by the continued evacuation order in Charles Village. He said city officials will meet with residents Friday morning.

A sidewalk and retaining wall on 26th Street in Baltimore's Charles Village neighborhood buckled and caved in Wednesday afternoon, swallowing a streetlight and more than half a dozen cars. No one was injured.

William M. Johnson, director of Baltimore's Department of Transportation, said at a news conference that sonar testing to check the ground's integrity and a video assessment of the area will begin on Saturday. The street will not reopen before those assessments are completed, he said.

Crews will begin stabilizing the area, a process Johnson said it will take 8 to 10 days.

He said the DOT and the Department of Public Works tested the structural integrity of the site a year ago and found no flaws.

Rawlings-Blake said she wants to find out what went wrong between last year and Wednesday.

Freight rail officials say cargo trains will likely begin running again Thursday evening on a section of track that was buried in the collapse.

CSX Corp. suspended operations Wednesday. A spokeswoman said the landslide caused minimal rerouting and inventory delays.

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