New York

Subways reopen, street repairs underway after major water main break floods Times Square

NEW YORK — A 127-year-old water main under Times Square gave way early Tuesday, flooding Midtown streets and the city’s busiest subway station.

The MTA says around 300,000 customers use the 1, 2 and 3 lines on a regular rush hour morning, so that gives you a sense of how many people were impacted.

It is believed that 1.8 million gallons of water entered the system and it took about 90 minutes for that water to be shut off.

The 20-inch main broke at around 3 a.m.

“The water main is above the subway station here,” city Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala said, showing the location.

Watch MTA service update

MTA update on Times Square water main break


The 1, 2 and 3 lines were shut down as water moved south to its lowest point. Transit officials said as a result the 23rd Street and 14th Street subway stations experienced issues.

Above ground, the bubbling break shut down part of Seventh Avenue near where it happened on 40th Street.

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Rob Revett, who was staying at a hotel right across from the mess, took a photo and described what he saw.

“We heard a large bang and I looked out the window and I saw water coming up,” Revett said.

“The water main is from 1896. It’s a 20-inch main, so a pretty big, high-pressure water main,” Aggarwala said. “The original design and the maintenance of this system is more important than the age.”

By the middle of the morning, subway service had been restored with residual delays after crews pumped out water.

“Typically, this is a lower-ridership week for us, so we should have been able to handle the capacity. I heard of no crowding issues, per se, on other lines, but if this were two weeks from now, when a Tuesday after Labor Day we certainly would have been more challenged,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said.

By early afternoon, service seemed normal. Some riders said they had no idea there had even been an issue.

Watch Alice Gainer’s report

Subways back in service after Times Square water main break closure


Nearly 20 hours after the water main broke, barricades remained up to keep foot traffic away from the work site at 40th Street and Seventh Avenue.

Crews continued to work on the break while the roads remained closed.

“Just get it done so people can move around,” one person from Cincinnati said.

“It seems it’s much more than what they thought it would be because it’s a lot more chaotic, so hopefully they get it done soon,” Midtown resident Sorority Quintanilla said.

“The people have to work the whole night, the other people have to go around, the traffic is bad, but for me, it’s OK,” said Fred Zchum, from Germany.

As for water, many of the buildings in the area have what is called redundant water systems, so only one or two were without service. That service has since been restored.

The Department of Environmental Protection anticipates opening one lane of traffic on Seventh Avenue during the overnight hours. Work is expected to continue Wednesday. Subways reopen, street repairs underway after major water main break floods Times Square

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