Giant Sinkhole Opens Up on Road Just a Block Away From White House

The US flag above the White House flies at half-staff in honor of former US President George H.W. Bush in Washington, DC on December 3, 2018; a sinkhole has opened up one block from the world-famous building. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

A large sinkhole has opened up in the road about a block away from the White House, the The Washington Post reported.

Police in Washington D.C. have said in a tweet that the hole had closed 17th Street NW between C and E streets NW in both directions.

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In images of the hole shared online, the street appears to have warped just a short distance from the corner of 17th and D streets NW. The depression in the road took up around one lane of traffic.

A diversion route around the hole has been signposted, according to the D.C. police tweet. Authorities have said commuters should use 18th, 15th and K streets as well as Virginia and Constitutional avenues to avoid a traffic snarl-up near the hole.

Street Bridge/Maintenance and DDOT ROP crews are en route for repairs and traffic control
Motorists can utilize 18th St, 15th St, K St, Virginia Ave, Constitution Ave as alternative

— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) January 22, 2019

The sinkhole has not escaped the attention of the city's politicos. According to The Hill, Sergio Gor, a staffer for Senator Rand Paul, tweeted a message alerting his followers to the crater. "Sinkhole just opened up on 17th Street NW, one block away from the White House!" he wrote.

In May a sinkhole opened up a little closer to the White House, seeming to threaten swallowing the North Lawn.

That pit was first noticed by White House correspondents. It opened up just next to the press briefing room and continued to grow. Later a second depression grew next to it, the Washington Post reported.

Sinkholes tend to be caused by increased rainfall. Following dramatic downpours, massive crevices in the earth have swallowed streets, vehicles and even buildings. They most usually occur when water enters the soil and loosens the sediment layer enough to send it into lower-lying gaps in the earth.

Sinkholes appear to be following President Donald Trump. In the summer of 2017 another hole opened up outside the president's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

The sinkhole measured roughly four feet by four feet, much larger than the two more recent holes that have appeared in D.C. Local officials blamed the sudden appearance of the massive crater on a newly installed water main.

Repair crews have already begun work on the 17th Street NW.