Morning Commute Headache in SF

Officials blame old pipes

A broken water main caused quite a mess in San Francisco Sunday morning. How big? The clean-up effort caused big traffic trouble through the Monday morning commute.

All but one northbound lane of Van Ness Avenue between Vallejo Street and Pacific Avenue stayed closed until just before 8 a.m. Monday.

The rushing water caused the street to crack in several places.  Crews worked overnight and into the morning hours to fix that but the road had to be completely repaved.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Christina Kerby said the 8-inch water main was ruptured due to an old pipe.  "We can't determine the cause of the failure other than these are really old pipes the pipes in this road are probably 100-years-old, and just like someone's body they break down over time," Kerby said.

Three apartment buildings and a business between Broadway and Pacific Avenue were without water for most of the morning, spokeswoman Christina Kerby said. The water was back on by midday.

The flood of water was first discovered at 3:30 a.m. on Van Ness Avenue at Broadway.  It took several hours just to reopen one northbound lane of Van Ness. 

While the pipes blamed on the system's old infrastructure, the utility has new technology to thank for helping them get to the bottom of another leak in the City earlier in the week.

Twitter user Nabra tipped off the water company Thursday just after 8 a.m. that there was a problem.

"Looks like there's an underground pipe leak at the mini-park at Golden Gate and Steiner. been leaking for several days," tweeted Nabra.

The leaky pipe turned out to be a broken sprinkler and the responsibility of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. The department turned off the water line and a few hours later, SF Water tweeted to Nabra:

"Water leak fixed by noon! Rec & Park turned off and fixed water line. Thanks for helping the City save our great Hetchy water!"

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Contact Us