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Monument Street Finally Reopens After Sinkhole

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Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A downtown street crippled by a sinkhole is back open Wednesday.

Christie Ileto explains why businesses are banking on the reopening of East Monument Street to bounce back just in time for Christmas.

After nearly five months of being closed because of crumbling asphalt and a massive sinkhole, East Monument Street was back open Wednesday.

“We celebrate!” said Susan Muhando, who runs Wig Warehouse.

From Sky Eye Chopper 13, the street is bustling with new sidewalks, gutters and a water main. But months ago, it was a different story. A gaping sinkhole first tore through the street in July after a 130-year-old storm drain tunnel collapsed. A month later, heavy rains and water ripped away huge chunks of asphalt, doubling the size of the problem.

“I just think it’s crazy,” a resident told WJZ over the summer.

City crews say the storm drain tunnel has been replaced, along with sewer services, while BGE replaced gas lines and Verizon installed new phone lines.

“Literally everything on the ground is brand new,” said Rudolph Chow with the Bureau of Water and Wastewater. “From an engineer perspective, we believe this should last for 75-100 years.”

During the road closure, nearly three dozen businesses nearby had little to no foot traffic, losing what they call a financial fortune.

“I think we will recover. Now I think it’s very good,” Muhando said.

Bouncing back just in time for the holidays, while those living nearby say they’re happy with the improvements.

“Satisfied because the sidewalks needed to be repaired, the streets needed to be repaired,” said Glenn Ross.

But the city says the repairs are just the beginning.

“This is only two blocks and this goes many miles and we still have quite a bit of challenges ahead of us,” Chow said.

Those repairs will take decades to tackle.

Officials say they have 4,000 miles of water main pipes in the city and their goal is to replace 40 miles every year.

The project cost around $7 million, something both the city and residents nearby say will hopefully keep this from happening again.

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