Busy downtown Toronto intersection to be closed for weeks for water main repair

The city says crews have already started working 24/7 to repair the ruptured water main. King Street steetcar routes are affected by the closure. (Caleb Isaac/CBC - image credit)
The city says crews have already started working 24/7 to repair the ruptured water main. King Street steetcar routes are affected by the closure. (Caleb Isaac/CBC - image credit)

A busy downtown Toronto intersection will be closed for at least two weeks while crews repair a water main that burst over the weekend.

King Street West is closed between York and Simcoe streets, and University Avenue is closed between Adelaide Street West and Wellington Street West.

The city says that work to fix the water main will take place around the clock. The affected pipe is cast iron and was originally installed 140 years ago, says Bill Shea, director of distribution and collection for Toronto Water.

The force of the water created a more than half-metre deep hole beneath the road and TTC streetcar tracks on King, Shea said, affecting an area about six metres long and six metres wide.

Crews will need to replace about 25 metres of the pipe, which requires digging up the roadway. The existing streetcar tracks may also need to be moved for safety purposes, which could extend the closure by another week, Shea said. Representatives from the city and TTC are meeting Monday to discuss the scope of the work.

For now, the 504-A King streetcar route between Sumach Street and the Springhurst Loop is not running and the 504-B route between Church Street and Dundas West Station will be out of service while repairs are completed.

The city says the subway is operating normally, and shuttles buses will run between Dundas West Station and King at River.

Flooding caused by the ruptured water main temporarily closed St. Andrew subway station on Sunday.

Sarah_smith1524/Twitter
Sarah_smith1524/Twitter

Shea said the repair job is made more difficult by the presence of other utilities beneath the roadway, such as gas and steam pipes and hydro wires.

Fifteen to 20 per cent of water pipes in Toronto are more than 100 years old, Shea said, while roughly five per cent are 140 years old or older. Most of the oldest pipes in the city are in the downtown core, he said.

There are about 700 water main breaks in Toronto each year, down from 1,700 or so a decade ago, Shea said.