National News

Street frozen, cars trapped in ice after water main break in Fells Point

Posted January 2, 2018 5:58 p.m. EST

— The temperature on South Wolfe Street is as frigid as it is frustrating for the dozens who call the block, just off Lombard Street, home.

"It's been like frozen icicles while walking around," Anita Malone, a resident said. "It's been really treacherous coming in from the street to the sidewalk."

She just moved to the street.

While she isn't one of her neighbors who have cars frozen solid, the slippery sidewalks don't make her travels any easier.

"My brain didn't put it together, but all the streets were melted, but this one was just 'ice city,'" Malone said.

A chilly weekend that saw an overnight snow created the mess – a combination of a busted water main and mother nature.

"The water continued to leak and is coming through the pavement. So the game plan right now, we just huddled with our contractor, we're going to re-excavate that location. We're going to put a pump in there to pump the water out instead of letting it surface," Rudolph Chow, the director for the city's Department of Public Works, said.

Chow says a break to a 30" x 40" joint has been leaking for weeks on the corner of Lombard and Washington Streets and it's formed a sheet of ice.

"We thought we had sufficient time and the parts having four to six weeks lead time. Of course, this extreme weather has settled on us unexpectedly and is hanging around for a couple of weeks now and it doesn't appear to be letting up," Chow said.

Neither will crews looking to clear these roads, as neighbors patiently wait.

"I was walking in and you do like 'the wave.' You've got to catch yourself," Malone said.

The busted pipe isn't impacting the water supply for those who live in the area. In a day or so, subcontractors will install a pump so the water will stop overflowing to the streets.

It'll be about another week or two before DPW gets the parts they need to fix the actual break.