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Massive Water Main Break In Shuts Down Traffic

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This first part of the two-phase project will shut down Canal Road, from MacArthur Boulevard to 35th Street in northwest Washington.
Patrick Madden
This first part of the two-phase project will shut down Canal Road, from MacArthur Boulevard to 35th Street in northwest Washington.

By Patrick Madden

A massive water main break in the heart of downtown D.C. paralyzed traffic earlier today and sent water gushing as high as 8 feet in the air.

Workers on the corner of 17th and P streets Northwest shoveled bits of debris and concrete into wheelbarrows. It's one reminder of the force of this morning's 20-inch water main break.

Nobu Yamazaki owns a sushi place right across the street. It's restaurant week in the district, and Yamazaki says he was fully booked for lunch and dinner. "We have no water pressure at all so we had to close the restaurant," he says.

Water and Sewer Authority Chair George Hawkins blames the break on a couple of things: the current cold snap, the construction crew that triggered the break when they lifted up the man hole cover, and the age of the main, which dates back to 1887.

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