Kirby Road in McLean has caved in after a water main break (via FCPD/Twitter)
A key commuter road in McLean could be closed for days after getting seriously damaged by a water main break this morning (Friday).
Police officers responded to Kirby Road around 4:45 a.m., shutting down both lanes between Sugarstone Court and Claiborne Drive. A video shared by the Fairfax County Police Department shows water gushing up onto the asphalt roadway, buckling what appears to be the southbound lane.
Fairfax Water says it received reports from customers around 1400 Kirby Road that they had lost water service. A total of 18 homes have been affected, according to public information officer Jesse Aranda.
“This outage has been identified as a water main break and our crews and technicians are working on resolving the break as soon as possible,” the utility company said in an alert on its website. “We ask that affected customers watch social media and our main website to receive the latest updates regarding the progress of the main break repair.”
The “extensive damage” to Kirby Road “is estimated to take several days to repair,” the FCPD said, advising drivers to “plan accordingly” and avoid the area.
Update: The water main break caused extensive damage to the road which is estimated to take several days to repair. Please plan accordingly and continue to avoid the area. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/Rdnsg09vft
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) October 20, 2023
Aranda didn’t have an estimate for how long the repairs will take, but he said Fairfax Water teams are “going in right now” to restore service to the affected homes.
‘We’re going to try to take care of it as soon as possible,” Aranda told FFXnow, noting that the utility is taking into account that Kirby Road is heavily used by commuters.
While the exact cause of this rupture isn’t known yet, water main breaks are usually the result of wear and tear on aging pipes, Aranda says. Per Fairfax Water, freezing or severe weather, soil conditions, ground movement and construction can also be contributing factors.
He says Fairfax Water is working to upgrade its pipes as they get older, but with more than 4,000 miles of main in the county, it’s a long process. The company’s new pipes are made out of ductile iron, a stronger and more durable material.
“It’s something we work on over time,” Aranda said. “And then, we replace it with something…that’s going to last a very long time.”
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