News & Politics

A Sinkhole Has Opened in a Tunnel Near the Capitol

The Third Street Tunnel sinkhole may or may not be a giant metaphor. But it is causing "significant gridlock."

Photo via DC Police.

A sinkhole has opened in the Third Street Tunnel, which runs under Union Square, just west of the US Capitol building. The tunnel is closed in both directions, as are nearby streets, causing “significant gridlock,” DC police say. The cops also tweeted a video of the sinkhole that could cause viewers to perform an involuntary Kegel exercise:

The closure comes at a time of heightened media profile for DC’s tunnels: NBC 4 reported last week that a local history website about subterranean DC got a rush of visits before the January 6 insurrection attempt at the US Capitol. (Indeed, Washingtonian reported on January 5 that people on pro-Trump forums had become fascinated with the Capitol’s pedestrian tunnels.) The far right’s obsession with DC’s tunnels transcends reality: As the Daily Beast reported in May, many QAnon followers believe Washington is riddled with tunnel networks used by President Trump’s enemies, and a video of flooding this spring near the Jefferson Memorial got more than 150,000 views as users speculated the rain could kill them with water.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.