Water Main Repaired, Service Restored To Downtown Buildings - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

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Water Main Repaired, Service Restored To Downtown Buildings

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A water main break in downtown Columbus restricted several streets in downtown Columbus Monday and left businesses and residents without water in the area.

According to the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities, the break was reported shortly after 4 p.m. near the intersection of North 4th Street and East Gay Street.

The break involved a 24-inch waterline located in the vicinity of East Gay and North 4th streets. The extent of the break was unknown.

The water line was secured at 9 p.m., drastically reducing the amount of water escaping, according to public utilities officials. The repairs were completed by 2:50 p.m. Tuesday, which was ahead of the 5 p.m. estimate.

SLIDESHOW: Water Main Break Floods Downtown Streets

Two lanes of North 4th Street remain closed between Broad and Long streets for pavement repair. Paving the Way expects the repairs to be made by Thursday. East Gay Street was closed Monday, but reopened some time Tuesday morning, according to Columbus police. North Lazelle and East Spring streets were also affected by the break, but have since reopened.

A building located at 45 North 4th Street was evacuated because of its close proximity to the break.

Columbus officials said second shift staffers were called in to operate valves. There were multiple crews working through the night to fix the break. Crews were being rotated to avoid long exposure to the cold temperatures.

Several businesses and residents in the area were without water until the break is repaired. The water has since been turned back on for a total of 10 buildings. It will take approximately 24 hours for water pressure to be restored, according to officials.

The Columbus Athenaeum President Mark Aalyson said they werein the building when the rupture happened, and grabbed the squeegees to get theincoming water into the drains.

"It would have been a problem, would not have been a catastrophe,but an insurance claim at the least," Aalyson said.

Aalyson doubled back at about 11 p.m. to make sure thebuilding wasn't weren't submerged.

"Last resort was to grab a drill and drill holes in thedrain so that it finally caught up to the water," Aalyson said.

Nearby businesses on Gay Street watched the water flow andthe customers dry up.

"On my way back to restaurant when everything is blocked,100 cop cars, called the restaurant to find out about the water main break,water started fluctuating," said Billy Tyler of Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails.

The restaurant managers decided to call it a night fourhours early.

"Closed at 10 p.m., didn't want a restaurant full of peopleand no water, can't have that," Tyler said.

A boil alert is in effect for customers on North 4th Street between Chapel and Long streets.

Grant Medical Center reported concerns keeping water in their boiler system, a tanker truck was called in order to keep the boilers filled.

The hospital released the following statement:

"Water service to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center was disrupted for approximately four hours as a result of the water main break in downtown Columbus.

Thanks to the support of the mayor and the City of Columbus Utility Department, water was rerouted to the hospital and water pressure has rebounded to near normal levels. 

The hospital cancelled a small number of elective surgeries and placed the emergency department on diversion for a few hours as a result of the break. Patient care, otherwise, was not impacted. The emergency department has resumed normal operations."

Four state office buildings closed because of the low water pressure. Only essential personnel in executive branch state agencies based in the Riffe Center, Rhodes Tower, the Department of Education building and the Department of Health building were told to report to work Tuesday.

State employees who work other in other downtown office buildings should report to work unless otherwise notified. Employees can receive updates on the state of Ohio employee hotline 866-643-6756.


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