Cleanup continues after downtown Minneapolis water main break

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Cleanup efforts will continue to hamper commerce and transportation Friday morning in downtown Minneapolis after contract workers ruptured an important 36-inch water pipe and 14 million gallons of water rushed into the frozen streets Thursday afternoon.

The Star Tribune reported that crews toiling late Thursday planned to work through the night.

The newspaper reported that the Hennepin Avenue Bridge was opened overnight, but Hennepin Avenue from Washington Avenue N. to Main Street NE., which includes nearby stretches of 1st and 2nd Streets N., will remain closed through the Friday morning rush hour.

"We want to make sure the rushing water didn't undermine the pavement or utilities below the roadway," Public Works Director Steve Kotke told the Star Tribune.

Salt was dumped on Hennepin Avenue and sidewalks in an effort to fight the quick-freezing runoff in midteen temperatures, the Pioneer Press reported. A city crew was scraping ice off roadways overnight, the newspaper reported.

Crews Friday were using heavy equipment to remove an excavator that tipped into the rushing flood of water, MPR reported.

The Star Tribune has a map of the area where water service was cut off.

All Downtown Hennepin County facilities, including the Minneapolis Central Library, are open Friday as usual, county officials said.

Local media were reporting late Thursday night that city officials said water was safe to drink and water pressure has returned to normal for the vast majority of residents and businesses affected by the 2:30 p.m. Thursday water main break at Hennepin Avenue and 2nd Street North.

The city plans extensive water tests once the pipe is fixed, Fox 9 reported.

The water main break just before rush hour Thursday created traffic headaches and shut down a number of businesses as water was cut off or pressure dropped.

Downtown restaurants that were forced to close included: Be’Wiched Deli, Black Sheep Pizza, Fogo de Chao, Haute Dish, Kindee Thai, Origami, Rosa Mexicano, Seven and Spoonriver.

The Guthrie Theater cancelled Thurday night’s performance of “The Servant of Two Masters.”

One building is known to have flooded: the U.S. Post office. Cars were "floating," Tim Strauss, who works at the post office, told KARE 11.

Humor survived the calamity, MPR's Bob Collins notes. He collected a few chuckle-worthy tweets.

Local media cobbled together collections of photos of the flooding. Among the better ones: the Star Tribune, and WCCO.

KARE 11 video of the deluge:

Here's the water main break site:

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