Water main break leads to flood in downtown Montreal

A flood caused by a watermain break in downtown Montreal is snarling traffic during the city's rush hour.

City officials have confirmed the flooding has affected a large area of downtown Montreal between Sherbrooke Street and Réné-Levesque Boulevard, and between Peel Street and Union Avenue.

Mayor Michael Applebaum said a break in a 48-inch watermain appeared to be the cause of the flooding. The watermain is located in a construction zone on Pine Avenue near Peel Street.

According to the mayor, it could take crews up to three hours to cap the break.

"We will continue to work without stop," Applebaum said.

He urged Montreal residents to be careful, especially anyone in a basement or underground parking lot.

Officials are still trying to figure out what caused the break.

Much of the flooding happened close to McGill University's downtown campus.

A note sent to employees at McGill warned of "severe flooding" on the campus and inside several buildings.

"We are trying to assess damage as best we can, but it will be extensive," the note stated, warning employees to get to safety.

The note also asked employees on main and basement floors to move computers and documents as high as possible.

All evening classes at McGill have been cancelled.

Police and firefighters are on the scene and city officials are asking people to be careful.

The Montreal transit authority reported the 15, 24, 61, 125, 168, 420, and 435e bus lines have been affected by the flooding.

There has been no flooding reported in Montreal's subway system.

Crews will have to close three valves in order to stop the water. According to city officials, the valves will be closed slowly and in sequence.

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