San Francisco water main break causes traffic delays

Lyanne Melendez Image
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Traffic nightmare in San Francisco after water main break
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Crews are working Friday to alleviate a major headache in San Francisco after a 121-year-old pipe burst causing traffic jams and flooding.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A water main break near San Francisco's Moscone Center in the early morning hours caused major traffic delays in the area of 4th and Howard streets. The broken line dates back to 1895. The city was hoping to have the area accessible by late Friday afternoon, but the water caused a lot of erosion and crews had to cut a hole larger than expected to replace some of the soil that had shifted.

RELATED: 121-year-old pipe causes water main break in San Francisco

At 3:00 a.m. emergency crews found water bubbling up from two spots in the pavement. Water had already made its way to nearby garages. The loading dock at the Marriott Hotel is also flooded.

"Very little damage to any of the properties," said Suzanne Gautier of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. "Some flooding, spillage at some of the garages in this area."

The new Moscone underground station is part of the Central Subway Project. It too was flooded, but construction there is still going on.

While there was a reduction in water pressure, service to people who live and work here was never interrupted. The water from the 12 inch pipe was re-routed.

A huge hole in the old pipe was discovered. Crews worked quickly to replace that section. Right above it is a much larger 30 inch distribution line.

PG&E crews were also there to pump water out of three underground vaults. Already the expansion project of the Moscone Center is affecting traffic. Friday's event made things a lot worse for drivers. Several city blocks were affected.

San Francisco has a 1,000 mile water pipe system. the city has a program to replace 15 miles of it every year.

The only thing drivers can do on 4th Street is make a right turn on Howard street. We are advising that if you are driving to avoid the area.