Boil water advisory as 138-year-old water main breaks and floods street

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The Canadian Press

A water pipe burst in the middle of a busy street in Montreal early Friday morning, causing a cascade of water that flooded the area and a boil-water advisory for parts of the eastern downtown area.

The pipe was built in 1882, according to Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante. 

“It’s an old water pipe. We will see what can be done to maybe replace a few parts of the pipe in order to fix the situation," said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin. 

The pipe is located under the roadway of de Lorimier Avenue. It gave way near the intersection of de Rouen St., a little north of the Pierre-Dupuy high school, in the Sainte-Marie district.

A boil water advisory is in place in the direct area, from de Champlian to the CP rail tracks and from Ontario St. to Sherbrooke St. Residents inside the area (see map below) are instructed to boil water for at least one minute before drinking as a precaution.

Checks will be made to ensure that residences in the area have not been flooded, but Sabourin said there were no reports of flooded basements. 

Agents from the Montreal Police Department (SPVM) told motorists to avoid the area, remaining on-site to support the city and evacuate the intersection.

Those coming off the Jacques-Cartier Bridge must head south on avenue de Lorimier, in the direction of Saint-Catherine and Notre-Dame streets or René-Lévesque Boulevard.

Because the pipe burst under the middle of the roadway, de Lorimier is closed in both directions between Ontario and Sherbrooke streets.

City workers are expected to spend the next few hours reducing the water pressure in the water main, channelling the water,  evaluating the situation and repairing the pipe and road.

Sabourin said it's still unclear what caused the pipe to burst -- and with mild weather, it was unlikely due to the temperature.

"Probably the temperature is not the cause of the major water main break, so this is why we have to investigate," he said.

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