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Burst pipe snarls traffic

A broken water main closed a portion of Rideau Street early yesterday — the second such rupture downtown in 24 hours.


A broken water main closed a portion of Rideau Street early yesterday — the second such rupture downtown in 24 hours.


The pipe, which was installed in 1885, burst at 5 a.m. yesterday, closing both lanes of Rideau Street between Cumberland Street and King Edward Avenue during rush-hour traffic, said Dixon Weir, Ottawa’s water and wastewater service director. A day earlier, a pipe also burst at Elgin and Catherine streets that crews were still repairing when the Rideau main broke.


Vehicles and OC Transpo buses were re-routed around the closure. Repair crews were on scene just after 8 a.m. The rupture further snarled traffic already backed up by Wednesday’s break and three different protests that were held in the core yesterday.


The Quality Hotel at Rideau Street and King Edward Avenue had no water for four hours, starting at around 7:30 a.m.


“The hotel is at full capacity. We have over 300 unsatisfied guests. They couldn’t shower, they couldn’t go to the bathroom,” said general manager George Chaiban.


By 11 a.m., water had been re-routed to the hotel for showers and laundry and staff distributed bottled water to the rooms.


Don Cherry’s Sports Grill owner Dan Cowley sent staff home and helped make other arrangements for more than 60 lunch reservations after learning there wouldn’t be water all day — only to have the water restored four hours later.


Despite lost revenue, Cowley was not critical of how the city handled the situation.


“The way they reacted to it, to get water back to the building, I thought they did a pretty good job,” he said.


Weir said the city repairs 320 broken water mains a year. Approximately 200 kilometres of the city’s 2,700-kilometre pipe system are more than 95 years old.


–tracey.tong@metronews.ca


 
 
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