By: Faiza Amin
Downtown Toronto drivers met with unexpected road closures early Tuesday morning, due to old water pipes bursting.
A water main break at Bay St., between Richmond St. and Queen St. West, caused the pavement to rupture, resulting in a sinkhole. Another water main break on University Avenue north of Dundas St. reportedly caused a flood at the University of Toronto’s research building.
Mario Crognale, director of district operations for Toronto Water, said crews responded to the water main break at Bay St.
“It’s a six-inch pipe made out of cast iron and it appears that the actual break was caused by corrosion,” Corgnale told Humber News.
In an email statement, Lyne Kyle, senior communications coordinator for the City of Toronto, said the incident is because of old water pipes.
“We’re currently completing repairs, and the main sewers in the road are also being flushed to ensure no blockages,” Kyle said. “Repairs are expected to take approximately four to six hours.”
Crognale said utilities make the area complex and conventional equipment like excavators could not be used to clean up the mess.
“This crew is using vacuum excavation so that we do not damage any other utilities in the area,” said Crognale.
Toronto Water told Humber News that there were a total of six water main breaks throughout the city last night.
Crognale said the number of water main breaks fluctuates every year.
“We do experience large amounts of water main breaks across the city all year round,” said Crognale. “To give you an idea as to the number of water line breaks that we had in 2012, for example, across the city was approximately 1100.”
Richard Montgomery, general manager of Hudson’s Bay Company on Queen St., told Humber News business was as usual for the store.
“It’s been a little messy this morning but it hasn’t really affected us at all in terms of business,” Montgomery said.
Although the water pipes had little affect on business, Montgomery said the store did experience some flooding in the basement.
“We had a bit of water that penetrated to our basement, and some water into our walls that had to be drained out,” said Montgomery.
Crognale said he doesn’t anticipate the roads to re-open until after rush hour.
“It will take four to six hours for the pipe to be repaired and after the pipe is repaired, the excavation is to be back-filled with what we call with unshrinkable fill material,” said Crognale.