Water main break to keep South Broadway at Mount Vernon closed until weekend

All lanes of South Broadway near Mount Vernon are expected to be closed until this weekend while repairs are made after a water main broke Tuesday morning, city officials said.

The city is asking drivers and pedestrians to avoid the area and take alternate routes. Traffic is being diverted to neighboring streets.

Crews were expected to have finished repairing the water main Tuesday, but repairs to the pavement will take a few more days, the city said.

The main broke at mid-morning, buckling pavement across all four lanes of Broadway. The six-inch main that broke is probably 50 to 60 years old, said Ben Nelson, strategy manager for the city’s public works and utilities.

With temperatures climbing into the 100s this week, heat probably played a role in the break, Nelson said.

“When the ground is so dry, it makes it easier for the pipe to shift in the ground,” he said. “Plus, demand for more water means more water is being pushed through the pipe.”

During the droughts of the past two summers, the city saw a 50 percent increase in water main breaks over the average from previous years, Nelson said.

The city saw more than 800 main breaks in 2011 and 2012, he said.