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UPDATE: Ellicott City Wall Collapse

Cars were removed from under the pile of rubble after one vehicle began to smolder. Reconstruction will be ongoing.

Howard County is working on a temporary fix for a retaining wall in Ellicott City that collapsed last week as a result of , according to the public works department.

“We’ll be looking for an interim fix that will hold for much longer,” said Public Works Deputy Director Mark Deluca, “and then we’ll construct the final product … a new wall.”

The wall, which sat along the side of a hill at the intersection of Mulligans Hill Lane, St. Paul Street and Maryland Avenue, fell last Thursday, and threatening a building owned by .

Initially, to stabilize the soil that was behind the wall, crews piled stones against it, But last Friday, after rocks had been placed about two-thirds of the way up the side of the hill, one of the cars began to smolder, Deluca said. 

“We felt it was safe,” Deluca said, “so we pulled [the cars] out.” Crews dumped more stones against the hill to keep the ground from giving out.

In the meantime, he said, a team of engineers and architects are working on a temporary fix.

“It’s a process that takes time,” Deluca said, “but to make sure that the ground is stable, we go from a temporary to an interim fix -- that will hold much, much longer – to the final fix."  

While the engineers and architects work on fixing it, the county is trying to determine who actually owns the wall, which pre-dates Howard County.

At some point, the county took ownership of the road and the wall, Deluca said, “How much of the wall and to what extent, we cannot say.”

For now, Public Works is working under the assumption that, yes, this was a county property but, Deluca added, the county is not certain.

“We’re trying to verify the records now.”

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