City engineering and public works employees survey the damaged caused by a water main that burst under Terminal Avenue Wednesday morning that caused minor flooding to several businesses and closed Nanaimo’s main arterial route through downtown for the remainder of the day.

City engineering and public works employees survey the damaged caused by a water main that burst under Terminal Avenue Wednesday morning that caused minor flooding to several businesses and closed Nanaimo’s main arterial route through downtown for the remainder of the day.

Burst water main closes highway through downtown Nanaimo

NANAIMO - Terminal Avenue back in business Thursday after workers replace burst water main and repave road overnight.

Now is as good a time as any to replace a water main, already scheduled for replacement, that burst in downtown Nanaimo this morning.

Traffic is diverted from the primary route through downtown Nanaimo and businesses are mopping up minor flooding after a water main failed under Terminal Avenue shortly before 10 a.m. near the Terminal Avenue and Commercial Street intersection.

In fewer than the 10 minutes required for city workers to arrive on scene and shut off a water valve supplying in the main, Geoff Goodall, city director of engineering and public works, estimated 580,000 litres gushed out of the fracture, which undermined the road bed, spread mud and gravel throughout the immediate area and caused minor flooding to several downtown businesses.

“It’s a 200-millimetre diametre main, so it’s a large main,” Goodall said. “It’s an older main, installed I think in 1947. It’s cast iron.”

Goodall said the main was scheduled for replacement in the city’s five-year capital plan.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue Capt. Mike Bagger said water was gushing about 60 centimetres above a hole in the roadway, which had already buckled when he and his crew arrived on scene. Bagger estimated city workers were on scene within about three minutes after fire crews arrived.

“We came down, water streaming 18 inches, 24 inches, traffic still driving through, so you could already see the road crowning … some of the businesses, they had water coming in,” Bagger said. “City works came in and they were all over it. They did a super, super job.”

Cleanup operations are currently underway.

Police and city works employees diverted traffic around the section of Terminal Avenue, which was closed for at least the remainder of Wednesday to replace the damaged water main and roadway.

The majority of repair work was completed Wednesday night and the section of Terminal Avenue was repaved and open for commuter traffic Thursday morning.