TARZANA (CBSLA.com) – City crews scrambled to fix a break to a 50-year-old water main that created a sinkhole in a major Tarzana roadway early Wednesday morning, sent thousands of gallons of water gushing into the air and left several homes and businesses without water for hours.

The 8-inch water main burst sometime before 2 a.m. in the 6000 block of North Tampa Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. It sent water shooting into the street, along with chunks of asphalt and mud.

It also created a sinkhole about 10 feet in diameter. The water was bubbling up through the sinkhole for several hours while Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews tried to find a valve to stop the flow. LADWP crews also used bulldozers to pick up the asphalt, mud and debris that was pushed up out into the street.

“Some of them (valves) are difficult to close with the age, it’s kind of difficult to make the turns to shut off the water,” an LADWP spokesperson told CBS2.

The pipe break left about two dozen homes and businesses without water for hours, including the Woodcrest School, which was on its last day of the year before summer break. The school brought in portable toilets and bottled water for its students and staff.

“It’s a pretty small school, it’s gonna really affect us,” teacher Cecilia Sotello said.

Tampa Avenue was initially shut down in both directions at Topham Street. As of 11:30 a.m., the northbound side was open but the southbound lanes remained closed. There was no estimate on when the repairs would be complete and the roadway fully reopened.

According to LADWP, the pipe that burst was installed in 1967. The cause of the break was not immediately confirmed.


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