OAKDALE, Minn. (KMSP) -
Thousands of drivers who normally use Interstate 694 east of St. Paul, Minnesota have been forced onto alternate routes after a sinkhole closed the road early Sunday morning. The sinkhole opened right where 15th Street crosses over I-694 in Oakdale, Minnesota.
The problem is a 12-inch pipe, which is now causing a 12-mile detour. A water main break happened sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, but by the time it was discovered, thousands of gallons of water began to erode the ground under the freeway.
A large stretch of I-694 is now closed in both directions. Crews have been working around the clock to fix the problem and reopen the interstate, but the Minnesota Department of Transportation said that's something that could take a matter of days, not hours.
"Once the leak is repaired and the pipe has been repaired and the leak has stopped, then we can begin to rebuild the base of the substructures,” said MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht. “We certainly may have to take some of the roadway out and pavement out in order to do that and then replace the pavement."
Monday afternoon, Oakdale’s utility superintendent said they hope to have water main break repaired by Friday, but MnDOT says that timeline for reopening I-694 is still undetermined because the amount of road repair needed is still unknown.
MnDOT is urging commuters to plan routes in advance of the morning and evening rush hour. MnDOT says I-694 will be closed between Interstate 94 and Highway 36, the big picture alternate route is via I-94 and I-35E and they're urging drivers to try and avoid local and county roads.
I-694 ramp update: At 10:45 a.m. Monday, MnDOT announced the ramp from southbound I-694 to eastbound Highway 36 is now open. The City of Oakdale announced the northbound ramp at County Road14/Old Highway 5 and the southbound ramp at 10th Street are also open.
City of Oakdale water update (Sunday night): Crews are still working on restoring water and fixing damage caused by the water main break that occurred in Oakdale overnight. The City continues to urge all residents to conserve water. Businesses and restaurants may use water for health and safety reasons, but are asked to continue to conserve where able.