BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Heavy rains force a major sinkhole to reopen in East Baltimore.  Now it’s causing even more problems than before.

Gigi Barnett reports.

From one side of the curb to the other, the 2300-block of East Monument Street is now a disaster.  It’s so bad the city has ordered the evacuation of several residents who live above the storefronts as a precaution.

“The buildings are OK right now. We’re hopeful in terms that everything’s going to be alright in terms that everything’s stable on either side. But we are concerned enough that we had to get people out,” Kurt Kocher of the Department of Public Works said.

The heavy rains have undone weeks of progress made by Public Works crews.  They had temporarily filled the sinkhole to begin repairs to the ruptured drainage pipe 40 feet underground, which created the problem to begin with.

But now, the hole is back and almost twice as large as before.

It’s a massive hole that will block business to 36 stores along the street.

“People have to live and eat off of what we are doing here. And with the street being cut off, there’s no foot traffic. It’s been rough. It’s pretty rough,” Curtis Anderson of the Monument Street Merchants Association said.

“Is everything going to sink? I mean, can I walk down the street right here?” Anthony Fortune said.

Sidewalks are still closed in the area and crews are expected to close up the sinkhole with steel plates later Monday morning.  Once they evaluate the situation , they’re hoping to reopen the sidewalks so people can access the businesses.

Public Works officials say it will likely be several months before the complicated repairs are over and the road can be reopened.

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