Water Main Repaired At Connecticut Ave

10:16 AM, Jun 1, 2012   |    comments
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Water main break floods garage and at least two cars at 1818 N St NW DC (@BruceLeshan via Twitter)

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- DC Water spokeswoman Pamela Mooring says that customers now have their water service back after crews repaired a broken water main that  disrupted travel in the Dupont Circle area since Thursday morning. 

Two southbound lanes and all northbound lanes of Connecticut Avenue have reopened. N Street will remain closed for a couple of days. The westbound lanes at the intersection of 18th and N streets are blocked.

Mooring says repair work to the broken main was slow going thanks to precariously-placed gas and power lines. She says that crews have replaced the valves but still need to complete utility work before paving is done.

Dozens of downtown businesses and buildings were shuttered and dark, and several garages and cars are flooded, after a big water main broke early Thursday morning at Connecticut and N Streets near Dupont Circle.

Repair crews worked throughout the night and into Friday morning.

Bill Woodford woke to a phone call and a nightmare. "This is where the power comes into the building," he said in a lower level electric room. "This is how (the water) got in, he says pointing to a continuing stream flowing through a circuit box. "It followed the electric lines... It's not an optimal situation, that's for sure."

Thousands of gallons of water poured into the parking garage of the building Woodford manages at 1818 N St. NW., flooding the bottom two levels of the garage and drowning two cars that were parked down there.

The water at one point came about two and a half feet up the main electric switchboard. But it never shorted. "The whole main switchboard gear has got to be torn down and all the main breakers replaced," said Woodford.

Emergency crews ordered everyone out of about 35 buildings and business along Connecticut Avenue. Pepco shut off power to many of them, leaving big money downtown lawyers and lobbyists cut off from their clients. "This is costing me a couple of dollars," said maritime attorney Henry Gonzalez as he waited outside his closed building. "Can't bill my clients, but I'll try to do the work on iPhone and iPad."

Traffic through downtown crawled for most of the day Thursday. "It's terrible because I'm late for work!" screamed one driver.

Why the 65-year-old main that runs along N Street broke on warm late spring night remains a mystery. But building managers are warning it may be awhile before their tenants can come back. "Stay home 'til further notice," says Woodford.

Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com
Twitter: @BruceLeshan

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