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Water main break floods downtown Santa Rosa intersection

City of Santa Rosa personnel work on repairing a water main that was ruptured when another work crew breached the main at 5th and B streets in downtown Santa Rosa on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013.

CHRISTOPHER CHUNG/ PD
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.

Contractors working in the area of Fifth and B streets in downtown Santa Rosa broke a water main Wednesday morning, flooding the intersection and closing several blocks to traffic.

A crew boring a hole beneath the northbound lane of B Street misjudged the depth of their drill, piercing the concrete water pipe, said Robert Oller, a construction manager in the city's Transportation and Public Works Department.

"It was not a severe rupture," Oller said.

But it was enough to send muddy water gushing up from the street and into nearby storm drains. The force of the water escaping the pipe undermined the street and caused a section of crosswalk to heave upward.

The work was being done by Baille Communications for a Comcast contractor to extend new fiber-optic lines to a building in the 400 block of B Street, Oller said.

The pipeline break occurred about 11:30 a.m., Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Rich Celli said. Police blocked off B Street from Seventh Street to Fourth Street, and closed Fifth Street between Mendocino Avenue and B Street.

They later reopened a portion of B Street, but Fifth Street remained closed as repairs were under way Wednesday evening.

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