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Subways reopen, street repairs underway after major water main break floods Times Square

NEW YORK — A major water main break flooded Times Square overnight, turning streets and subways into a river.

The water has since been turned off and the flooding has receded, as the repairs get underway.

Seventh Avenue is shut down between 42nd and 39th streets, as is 40th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. Crews told CBS New York’s Alice Gainer they hope to get at least one lane of traffic open by early Tuesday afternoon.

“While this intersection will probably remain closed for the rest of the day while we continue the excavation and complete the repair, it is limited to this one intersection at this point,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala said. 

Watch MTA service update

MTA update on Times Square water main break

The MTA says 1, 2 and 3 train service has been restored, but with heavy delays in both directions. In particular, officials say the 23rd Street and 14th Street stations experienced issues.

“The main impact, of course, has been on the subways, because the water main is above the subway station here. So for that hour and a half, or so, when the water was running, the water was running into the subway system,” said Aggarwala.

“We’ve had severe impact this morning on the 1, 2 and 3 lines, in large part because the water has seeped through here at Times Square and actually moved to its lowest point, which it turns out to be south,” New York City Transit President Rich Davey added. 

CBS New York’s John Dias spoke with subway riders who said it sounded like an explosion. 

“All of a sudden, debris started coming down. We thought it was an explosion, but it was water. Everybody started running,” John Baldey said. “It started to flood the tracks, they had to call the cops. Everybody ran out of the subway. We didn’t know what happened, we thought it was a collapse, I guess, all the water.”

Meanwhile up above, Rob Revett was staying in a hotel on Seventh Avenue. 

“We heard a large bang, and I looked out the window, and I saw water coming up,” he said. 

The DEP commissioner said the 20-inch pipe that broke was built in 1896. He said, fortunately, the 48-inch pipe next to it remains intact.  

“Our crews are now excavating. We’ve narrowed and we’ve identified we believe where the break in the pipe is, and they are excavating so they can begin the repairs,” Aggarwala said. “As you would imagine here in Times Square, it’s spaghetti under there. There’s Con Ed steam, there’s electricity, there’s gas, there’s telecom under there.”

As for businesses affected, many have redundant water supplies. Only a couple have reported having no water. 

Stick with CBS New York for the very latest on this developing story.

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