94-year-old water main breaks in South End, causes flooding

Massachusetts Avenue was flooded early this morning. Photo by @sparkythepit/Twitter
Massachusetts Avenue was flooded early this morning. Credit: @sparkythepit/Twitter

An 8-inch water main broke on Tremont Street in the South End early Monday, spewing water between Mass. Ave. and West Springfield Street, temporarily closing the roads and flooding the block. 

Water and Sewer Commission Spokesman Tom Bagley said someone reported the break around 3:30 a.m. Crews shut off the water by 5 a.m., and drained most of it by day break.

However flooding caused a sinkhole on Tremont Street, and shut down water service to six adjacent buildings. A check cashing business and a barber shop sustained some water damage, Bagley said, ad well as basement flooding.

“It wasn’t bad at all. Very little flooding,” Bagley said, adding that the pipe was excavated and repaired.

Inbound lanes remained open, but traffic was temporarily slowed down because of road repairs.

The outbound side of the street was opened to traffic later in the day.

Crews work to patch up a water main break which snarled traffic along Tremont Street and Massachusetts Avenue in the South End yesterday.
Crews work to patch up a water main break which snarled traffic along Tremont Street and Massachusetts Avenue in the South End yesterday.

“It happens from time to time,” said Bagley. “You get a lot of (burst pipes) on side streets… But when you get a break on a major throughway, every one pays attention.”

Water mains throughout the city typically burst between 25 and 35 times per year, according to Bagley.

Last year there were 30 water main breaks; however 33 breaks have already occurred this year.

Rust and the pipe’s age may be a factor.

“I can’t say for sure (the cause),” Bagley said, adding that the pipe was installed in 1919, and relined in 1977.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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