Downtown Mpls water main break: No poop in the North Loop

This time, global warming isn't to blame.
This time, global warming isn't to blame.

Around 2:30 this afternoon, contractors working on a development project at Hennepin Avenue and North 2nd Street nailed a 36-inch water main responsible for bringing water to much of the City of Lakes, disrupting water service and rush-hour traffic and flooding a portion of the North Loop.

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The owner of the North Loop building where the City Pages office is located sent an email advising folks: "Please, if you need to use the bathrooms, just go # 1." When it became clear there was no running water whatsoever, he followed up with: "Please DO NOT USE THE BATHROOMS sorry."

Here are some flooding images uploaded to Twitter:

Michael Kraabel offered up a less sober assessment of the accident's cause:

From the Star Tribune:

The main is one of several major pipes carrying water across downtown to distribute through the city and caused a major impact downtown, with reports of lower pressure extending beyond Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

At Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis, surgeries and other operations remained on as scheduled despite the water loss thanks to a back-up system, a spokeswoman said.

The Mill City Museum closed at mid-afternoon due to the break, and residents of nearby lofts were left with little or no water. The Local restaurant on Nicollet Mall was serving only beer and wine for lack of water supply.

Beer and wine? Doesn't sound so bad.

KSTP reports that "Water service has been affected south of the Mississippi River, and as far south as Lake of the Isles." There are reports that water service is also out in Loring Park. The city says water should be flowing from taps normally once again later this evening.

The break has also disrupted traffic. WCCO reports that both the Hennepin Avenue bridge and West River Parkway are closed. Metro Transit bus routes 4, 6U, 7, and 61 have been detoured -- to see Metro Transit's latest information about water main-related route changes, click here.

From Mayor Rybak:

The city has just released this statement:

Most businesses and residents who are experiencing a disruption in service are expected to have water service restored this evening. It will take longer to restore service in the immediate area around the break, generally along 2nd Street from 3rd Avenue North to Marquette Avenue South. At this time, it is not known how long those four blocks may be without water.

And here's a couple more images from Twitter:

Look on the bright side: If the city can't clean up the flooding by nightfall, it could make for an unusual night of ice skating, complete with skyline views.

:::: UPDATE ::::

The contractor responsible for the break just released this statement:

At approximately 2:30 PM, while our subcontractor, United Sewer and Water, was doing work near a City of Minneapolis water line, the line ruptured. We are currently investigating the cause of the accident. The incident occurred on the site of our 222 Hennepin apartment project, located on the corner of Hennepin and Washington Avenues. We are relieved to report that no one was injured as a result of the accident and the site has been evacuated. We are actively working with Minneapolis City officials to shut off the line so that repairs can be made. Further questions should be directed to the City of Minneapolis Public Works department.

Even this backhoe couldn't withstand the flood waters.

:::: UPDATE ::::

Video of cars and buses making their way through the flood on Hennepin has been posted:

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