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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Broken Pipe Floods Miami Beach Neighborhood

Crews working to repair a busted underground water pipe that flooded streets in Miami Beach’s La Gorce neighborhood Tuesday night are finding the situation worse than first expected, and that construction headaches could easily continue until Friday.

“According to our engineers it’s the biggest break we’ve had in 17 years,” said Nannette Rodriguez, a city spokeswoman.

The water main erupted in the area of La Gorce Drive and 63rd Street about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, sending a deluge through the area and, according to, flooding some homes.

Early Wednesday morning, Rodriguez said crews believed the city and neighbors were lucky that the broken 16-inch water pipe “was a water line and not a water main. If it had been a main, we would have had a loss of service, and probably a lot of damage.”

But by 11 a.m., Rodriguez said engineers found that the pipe that broke was indeed a water main — the principal pipe in a series of pipes through which water flows. And while service wasn’t cut off, Rodriguez said there likely was a good deal of damage.

“They’re saying it blew. And when it blew it damaged other stuff under there,” she said, including a Florida Department of Transportation storm line.

Police are rerouting traffic off of Alton Road and away from the area where the water main blew.

Rodriguez said the cause of the break likely won’t be known until the secion that erupted is analyzed.

"We were able to quickly close shut-off valves last night that prevented the flooding from expanding further," Rodriguez said. "But getting to the right lines and right area down there for repair has gotten a little complicated. So it’s taking longer. We’ve called in a contractor with some heavy equipment to help us speed it up. But we anticipate repairs being underway through Friday."

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