Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Water main mess. Crews are starting the work to fix a broken water main that brought downtown Baltimore to a screeching halt.
Meghan McCorkell has an update on how long it could take.
Light Street between Baltimore and Lombard is still shut down and authorities say it will stay that way for the next three weeks.
The water gushed down Light Street, leaving behind a giant crater and a mangled mess.
“It’s going to be crazy until they can do something about this. Light Street is tore up,” said Kenny Williams, who works downtown.
The city will tear up two blocks of Light Street to replace the broken main, which dates back to 1889. They’ll also replace another pipe which has been there since 1914.
“We’re going to remove those lines and replace them with new lines so once we go in, we can close this road and not have to come back again,” said Alfred Foxx, director of the Department of Public Works.
The bulk of the repair work will happen on Light between Redwood and Lombard. The road will be completely shut down, creating headaches for those who live and work downtown.
“It’s terrible because you can’t get nowhere. You’ve got to go all the way around,” said Barbara Rictor, who lives nearby.
“You got Artscape this weekend, all that coming up, so it’s going to be ugly,” said Garner Little, who delivers mail downtown.
Some of the businesses along Light Street shut down for the day with no water. The city is working to provide temporary service, but that won’t be up and running until Thursday.
“It does impact their business and I think they can handle one or two days of disruption. If it goes beyond that, it will be very frustrating,” said Kirby Fowler with the Downtown Partnership.
With the extensive repairs on tap, it will be weeks before downtown is back to normal.
Most of the repair work will be done during the day. DPW officials say shutting down the entire street will help the repairs go more quickly.
Three years ago, a city assessment found the water main on Light Street was at a high risk for breaking. It was put on a priority list but obviously hadn’t yet been replaced.
These traffic concerns are expected to last for weeks. Drivers are asked to take alternate routes if possible, or to allow extra travel time. Westbound commuters should use Franklin Street and southbound commuters should use Martin Luther King Boulevard.