British Columbia

Major road in downtown Vancouver reopens after broken water main shoots water into the sky

A major road running through downtown Vancouver has reopened after an aging water main beneath the pavement buckled at the tail end of rush hour Monday evening.

Aging water main buckled under West Georgia Street on Monday night, leaving crater in the road

Water shoots out of the ground Monday evening in downtown Vancouver after a watermain burst. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

A major road running through downtown Vancouver has fully reopened hours after an aging water main beneath the pavement buckled at the tail end of rush hour Monday evening, sending a stream of water and rocks shooting into the sky.

Commuters and passersby stopped in disbelief after water erupted out of the road in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on West Georgia Street near Hornby Street around 6 p.m. PT. The gush blew a metre-wide hole in the pavement.

West Georgia Street was shut down by 7 p.m. A statement said city crews worked all night to repair the water main, but the crater in the pavement still needs to be fixed.

Two eastbound lanes of West Georgia remain closed between Howe and Hornby Streets did not reopen until 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Watch the aftermath of a water main burst in downtown Vancouver:

People stopped to take video after water began shooting out of the ground Monday evening on West Georgia near Hornby Street. The City of Vancouver confirmed the cause was a broken water main. 0:35

Pipe was due for repair: city

A city spokesperson said Monday the 40-centimetre pipe was at the end of its service life, dating back to 1924.

"It was a lot of pressure and a lot of water so we had water gushing up to about 50, 60 feet [15-18 metres] in the air," said Daniel Roberge, the city's director of water and sewers.

City of Vancouver staff inspect the damage after a water main broke in front of the Art Gallery downtown. (Laurie Tritschler )

Roberge said the pipe repaired Monday night may be the same one repaired last September after another water main incident in the same area.

The staffer said the city had plans to replace the pipe in its entirety in the first half of 2020, noting last year's repairs were expected to hold until then. 

"It ruptured a little bit sooner than we expected it," Roberge said. 

The cost of Monday's repair is still unknown.

With files from Tina Lovgreen, Gian-Paolo Mendoza and Andrea Ross

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