Water main break causes NW traffic blockage

While crews continue repairs to a water main that broke in the heart of Dupont Circle's business district yesterday, officials say two nearby valves have been fixed and water service restored but N Street will remain closed for several days for repaving work. 

The mains ruptured along Connecticut Avenue and N Street, NW early Thursday morning, disrupting water and power service, causing traffic tie-ups, forcing several office buildings to be evacuated, and shut down restaurants.

DDOT reports N Street NW between Connecticut Avenue and 18th Street will remain closed for days to allow for repaving work. Connecticut Avenue was also restricted but has since reopened.

As crews continue repairs to the broken main, DC Water says all water service has been restored in the area.

Crews were working into Thursday evening to restore service, but it took longer than originally expected as they're working in dangerous conditions due to the proximity to utility lines.

D.C. Water spokesperson Pamela Mooring said that they were called to Connecticut Avenue and N Streets NW for a reported water main break at 5:30 a.m. As crews began repairs to the water main, they discovered that some nearby valves needed repair as well, which forced them to cut water service in the area.

As a result of the break, thousands of customers, including at least 35 buildings, were without water service or experienced low water pressure.

D.C. Water spokesman Alan Heymann says the break, which is believed to have originated from a pipe on N Street, is the cause of the outage.

The ruptured 12-inch main is 65-years-old, which is less that the average age of 77 years for pipes in the District, Heymann said. The oldest pipe, located under M Street in Georgetown, was installed during the Civil War era and is at least 150-years-old.

Traffic was blocked at N St. at Connecticut Ave. NW and buildings at 1130 and 1250 Connecticut Ave were evacuated due to the main break. One of the buildings was closed because the power was affected, ABC7's Brianne Carter said.

In some cases, parking garages were flooded. Jeff Martin of Sunbelt Equipment Rentals says he saw some vehicles with "water about halfway up" and he expects there would be significant damage.

Many of the restaurants in the Dupont Circle area were closed for lunch.