Water Main Breaks, Floods Major Street In Baltimore

9:59 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A huge water main break at a major intersection in North Baltimore is disrupting business and travel.

The break snarled traffic from North Avenue to 25th Street and is expected to still be a problem during the evening rush hour.

A 60 inch water main ruptured around 8 a.m., sending water gushing down N. Charles Street and shutting down the major road during the morning rush.

The Department of Public Works says it's the latest example of Baltimore City's aging infrastructure. The 17 feet deep main was installed in 1920.

"We have prioritized the locations where we really need to address these older mains first," said Kurt Kocher, Department of Public Works spokesman. "We are increasing the number of miles of mains that we're going to be renewing every year. We're going to be going up within 5 years to 40 miles a year. We're taking a proactive stance in terms of all of this. But right now, we're dealing with an emergency."

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake toured the scene just before 11 a.m.

BGE is closing a 20 inch gas main as a preventative measure and shutting off power to a few residents. The utility company may also have to reroute natural gas service in the area.

Businesses will have low water pressure but should not lose service. Meanwhile, city health officials are working with several restaurants in the area to get them back open Wednesday afternoon.

Officials also monitored a possible impact at nearby Penn Station as water flowed in that direction. It does not appear to have caused any damage there.

But due to deteriorating conditions caused by the water in basements, buildings 2011-13-15 on N. Charles Street are being evacuated.

The MTA has rerouted bus service around the impacted area, so some nearby stops may no longer be viable.

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