The southbound lanes of Elgin Street are open to traffic between Laurier Avenue and Nepean Street after a water main break on Friday necessitated emergency road repairs.

A southbound section of the street collapsed after a private contractor accidentally drilled into a water main early Friday morning while trying to install a gas line, Mayor Jim Watson said Friday. He added that the private contractor will be responsible for paying for the work.

"There is a cost because it's not only our city crews that are there, police are there and buses have been rerouted, but we'll be sending a bill to the contractor that is responsible because it shouldn't be the taxpayers that pay for a private contractor's error," Watson told reporters.

Ottawa water services supervisor Chris Hamilton said that at about 2 a.m. Friday morning, a river of water was flowing from the spot at Elgin and Laurier.

About four feet of water was reported in the parking garage of the highrise building at 66 Slater St., just northwest of the intersection.

At the Lord Elgin Hotel, muddy water flowed onto the sidewalk in front of the building before heading down Slater, said guest services manager N. Ravi.

"Crews were on the spot within about 15 minutes," Ravi said. "They had a lot of excavators and things in front moving the mud, which caused a lot of disturbance to the guests in the hotel. So we had a fair amount of complaints from guests from the hotel. We had about eight or 10 guests who had to move rooms at two in the morning."

Watson said the damaged pipe was installed in 1998 to 1999.