OAKDALE, Minn. (WCCO) — A sinkhole that shut down part of a busy Twin Cities interstate could take days to fix.
A water pipe burst near Interstate 694 in Oakdale Sunday, causing the ground to give way. Monday, city leaders said it will be Friday before crews can fix that water main — and even more time may be needed to repair the roadway.
The 20-foot deep hole forced MnDOT to close the interstate between 94 and Highway 36, sending drivers on a time-consuming detour.
“I guess I’ll clarify, it’s not really a sinkhole, it’s more of a washout, ” Oakdale’s Utility Superintendent Shawn Nelson said.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s clearly a spectacle. One that’s drawing folks who live nearby to come see for themselves. A hole in the ground that looks big enough to swallow a vehicle.
“They know what they are doing. You can tell that. They got the water out of here anyway,” Oakdale resident Bob Schwankle said.
MnDOT crews working with Oakdale public works crews and private contractors to remove the ruptured water line.
“It is a process. The first thing we needed to do was to find the leak. We need to repair that situation and then we can begin to work on the roadway,” MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said.
Oakdale’s utility superintendent says the water main was installed in 1964, but early speculation is that age was not a factor in the rupture.
“It just comes out of nowhere. We don’t know when it’s gonna happen, but it does happen, and we just get through it,” Nelson said.
The drop in water pressure that some Oakdale residents experienced on Sunday appears to be resolved. But the traffic woes are just beginning.
“I just talked to somebody else who said it took them two or three times as long just to get into work today. What a mess,” Oakdale resident Stacy Gilsdorf said.
The suggested detours are sending drivers onto I-94, 35E and Highway 36, causing congestion on those routes.
“While this incident has caused an inconvenience to our communities, we are grateful that no one was injured and that the damage wasn’t greater,” Oakdale Mayor Paul Reinke said.
Again, it’s unclear when 694 will re-open. The highway carries nearly 90,000 cars and trucks a day.
MnDOT suggests checking traffic conditions on it’s 511 website before leaving home.