Water main breaks in downtown Minneapolis

Federal Reserve building
The Federal Reserve building, at 90 Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, is surrounded by flooded streets on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 3, 2013, after a water main broke nearby.
MPR Photo/Brandt Williams

A water main break at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Minneapolis has affected water service over a wide area of the city, south of the Mississippi River and as far south as the neighborhoods near the Minneapolis chain of lakes.

The incident occurred about 2:30 p.m., when private contractors working on a development project at the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and 2nd Street struck and ruptured a 36-inch water main that delivers water to a large portion of the city, said Minneapolis city officials.

Public works crews are on the scene, working to isolate the break so that water service can be restored to most of the affected customers by later this evening.

It'll take more time to restore water service in the immediate area, generally about four blocks closest to the break.

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Marie Asgian, Superintendent of Water Distribution for the city of Minneapolis, said it's not clear how long that will take.

Watermain break
A water main broke in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012, at one of the busiest intersections in the area -- Hennepin Avenue and 2nd Street.
MPR photo/Brandt Williams

"Taking a large main out of service, there's a lot to it, and they're working on the valves right now," Asgian said. "It will take several more hours for the rest of the system pressure to build up to normal."

Asgian said she expects the water pressure to be back to normal in 24 hours.

There is standing water a few inches deep on several of the nearby streets. Some streets in the immediate area were closed for the time being, including Hennepin Avenue from Washington Avenue to the river. Drivers are being asked to avoid the area around Hennepin and 2nd Streets.

Metro Transit has detoured several bus routes in downtown Minneapolis to avoid the affected area.

Watermain break
The water main break caused standing water in a several-block area. This is the intersection of 2nd Street and 2nd Avenue.
MPR photo/Brandt Williams

The Guthrie Theater building is closed tonight because of the break, including the Sea Change restaurant, officials said on Facebook this afternoon.

Tonight's performance of "The Servant of Two Masters" is cancelled as well. Ticket holders should contact the Guthrie box office to make an exchange.

Other businesses in the area are closed as well, including several restaurants. The Mill City Museum closed early.