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Water main break, cracked Metro rails snarl morning commutes

The cold snap that’s cast a frigid chill over the region is being blamed for a water main break and cracked rails on the Metro, both of which snarled commutes Monday morning.

Workers discovered cracked rails on Metro’s red line in Maryland and on the blue line in Virginia.

And a water main break outside Washington sent water pouring from a 54-inch pipe, prompting the closure of the inner loop of the Capital Beltway in Maryland.

Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says the cracks were discovered Monday morning near the red line’s Rockville station and near the Van Dorn station on the blue line.

Farbstein says the cold weather is a factor when rails splinter, as well as inadequate track maintenance.

Delays are worst on the red line as trains are single tracking around the affected area. Delays on the blue line are mostly only affecting passengers from the Franconia-Springfield station in Virginia.

Authorities say the pipe ruptured Monday morning and closed all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 by 5 a.m. Officials say it could be closed several hours.

Police say some vehicles were stuck in the water, but no one was in them.

Water was pouring from the broken pipe and freezing on the highway, creating a sheet of ice. Authorities tell WRC-TV the water was as high as three feet against some highway guard rails.

Lyn Riggins, a spokeswoman for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, says the pipe was a major distribution main.