MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hennepin Avenue is mostly back open Friday morning after a massive water main break caused a big mess in downtown Minneapolis.
The only area that’s still closed is Hennepin Avenue between Washington and First Avenues. The water is also back on for most people who spent part of yesterday without it.
It all started around 2:30 p.m. Thursday when a construction crew hit a three foot wide underground water main at Hennepin Avenue and 2nd Street north. About 14 million gallons of water flowed out into the streets.
All that water in the street meant there was no running water for apartments, condos, restaurants and businesses. Hennepin Avenue wasn’t expected to be open by the morning rush hour, but luckily it has, except for about one block between Washington and 1st Avenue.
City officials said there’s still some ice on the sidewalks, but things are looking much better than they did Thursday night. Crews were working on an apartment project at the old Jaguar dealership when the break happened.
City workers quickly put salt down to prevent ice on the drains, which likely helped get a lot of the water off the streets. Water service was cut off to thousands of people living downtown along with several restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues. Many of them were forced to close for the day. Water was as deep as three feet on some streets.
Some people were affected as far as three miles away near Lake of the Isles. At last check, city officials said the water is still off for about a half dozen businesses. Officials said for those who have water, it is safe. It may appear discolored at first, but just let it run for a short time and it will clear up.
Crews will be around the site of the break all day cleaning up and repairing the damage caused by the break.
City officials said early Friday morning that all Hennepin County offices downtown, including the Minneapolis Central Library, will be open for business as usual.
A spokesperson for the post office in downtown Minneapolis near the area of the break said nearly two dozen postal vehicles are under water in a parking ramp that’s attached to the post office. Those vehicles, along with an unknown number of employee vehicles, were in the lowest level of the ramp when the water main broke. Crews are still pumping water out of the area.