Streets still closed as crews repair pipe

Crews working to repair the huge water main break on Montrose Avenue removed 80 feet of brick sewer from below the street and were preparing to install a new water pipe this evening.

The break, which occurred yesterday morning, flooded North Side businesses and apartments and carved an 80-foot wide crater on Montrose Avenue.

The flooding damaged the brick sewer line, and workers spent part of today installing a new concrete sewer, said Department of Water Management spokesman Tom LaPorte.

The city hopes that the crew of 10 workers using heavy equipment will finish replacing the water main tomorrow night, though that deadline is far from certain.

"When we can install the pipe will depend on the other utilities involved," said LaPorte, who noted that ComEd and People's Energy will need to complete work on underground structures before the new pipe can be laid.

The city will send the 100-year old water pipe to an engineering firm for analysis, said LaPorte.

The Salvation Army remains on the scene, handing out hot dogs and coffee to crews who continued to labor under difficult conditions, said LaPorte.

LaPorte also praised the Starbucks at 1900 W. Montrose Avenue.

"They've gone well above and beyond in helping the workers--providing coffee and shelter to the workers and helping to keep them warm and dry," said LaPorte.

Montrose remains closed from Damen Avenue to Ashland Avenue. Traffic control aides, as well as police and fire officials remain on the scene.

The #78 Montrose bus has been detoured onto Wilson Avenue near the break.

Trains at the Montrose Brown Line are operating normally, though the station's west entrance is closed.

Crews are working to repair the foundation of a building at 1825 W. Montrose, which suffered the most damage. Buildings Department officials are hopeful that it can be completed by tomorrow night.