Broken Water Main Shuts Down University Bridge; Eastlake Boulevard Closed Just South of Bridge; Some Customers Without Water

City of Seattle FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/2/2007

Broken Water Main Shuts Down University Bridge; Eastlake Boulevard Closed Just South of Bridge; Some Customers Without Water

SEATTLE - A broken 24-inch water main shut down the University Bridge this morning and disrupted water service to some local business and residences. At around 11 a.m., Seattle Public Utilities crews had completed the complex job of shutting off the water main, which involved closing a number of valves. Water pressure in the pipe had been slowly reduced to avoid damage to the system. Crews were finishing up the process of restoring limited local service. As of 11:30 a.m., the cause of the break was not known. A section of Portage Bay Place is closed underneath the south end of the bridge, as is Eastlake Boulevard, just south of the bridge. The University Bridge remains open for marine traffic. Areas of Eastlake and Capitol Hill neighborhoods north of E. Shelby Street are without water service due to the break. A large sinkhole, apparently caused by the broken main, was reported at 7:36 a.m. on Portage Bay Place, which runs under the south end of the bridge. The bridge was closed at 7:45 a.m. as a precaution. Two unoccupied, parked cars fell into the sinkhole. The City of Seattle is hiring a crane to remove the cars from the sinkhole. Water reportedly also washed out Portage Bay Place East, cutting vehicle access to some 100 houses and houseboats. Seattle Department of Transportation engineers were on the scene to determine whether there has been any structural damage to the bridge. Some Metro buses are being rerouted. For more information call 206-553-3000, or go to Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) received several hundred customer phone calls who have lost water service or pressure due to the broken water main. Water pressure has been restored to neighborhoods outside the affected project area. The City’s water is safe to drink; but customers experiencing discolored water are advised to run the water for a few minutes to see if it is clearing or still discolored. If the water does not clear, let the water sit for an hour. Then run the water for a few minutes and flush the toilet a couple of times. If the water remains discolored, please contact Customer Service at (206) 684-3000. Bottled water is available at the scene. Only one leak in the cast iron water main has been reported in the last 15 years. The incident has been reported to the state Department of Ecology. In addition to providing a reliable water supply to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area, SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the city’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region's environmental resources.

- 30 -

Seattle Public Utilities

[View City of Seattle News Release]