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Broken water main floods Montreal streets

Jan. 29, 2013, Montreal – Sidewalks and streets in sections of downtown Montreal could be a lot more slippery than usual this morning, as firefighters work to break up the ice that's clogging a water drain.

January 29, 2013
By The Canadian Press

Jan. 29, 2013, Montreal – Sidewalks and streets in sections of downtown Montreal could be a lot more slippery than usual this morning.

A water main break unleashed a raging river yesterday near McGill University just before rush hour, prompting traffic jams as cars and people tried to escape.

Streets thickened with ice as firefighters stabbed at drain openings with spikes to let the water in as road graders pushed the water around to get it to disperse.

At one point, parts of two of Montreal's main east-west arteries were closed to traffic – Rene-Levesque Boulevard and Sherbrooke Street.

The break was contained by mid-evening and the water largely cleared away, but ice build-up could be a problem this morning.

City officials say the flood was caused by a 90-centimetre water main that broke at a construction site near downtown.

Officials also said the quality of drinking water was not affected.