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Ruptured water main floods roadway for hours

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SAN DIEGO -- A broken water main flooded Nimitz Boulevard in Point Loma for more than four hours Tuesday morning while city crews struggled to stop the flow.

The 53-year-old water main began flooding near the intersection of Nimitz and Famosa boulevards at around 4 a.m. and caused the sidewalk to cave in.  A river of water was flowing north down Nimitz Boulevard, and San Diego police closed the southbound on-ramp to Nimitz Boulevard from West Point Loma Boulevard. A SigAlert was issued at 4:45 a.m. and southbound Nimitz Boulevard was closed.

"We’ve got that water main shut down because it’s such a huge pipe. There’s lots of water inside -- that’s why it’s still running down,"said Arian Collins, supervising public information officer of the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department.

Collins said it's not known how much water was lost.

On one of the hottest days, Logan Mcauliffe had to start his first day of school at Cabrillo Elementary with no water.

"It’s really warm and it got sweaty when I played on the playground," said Mcauliffe.

The pipe break knocked out water for two schools, Point Loma High and Cabrillo Elementary.

"It's not  how we want to start the school year, obviously," said Drew Rowlands, chief of physical plant operations for San Diego Unified School District. "We feel like we’re prepared for these things. We provide temporary drinking water, hand wash stations and Port-a-potties. It’s a little bumpy and rough for the first day."

Logan's mom, Monica Mcauliffe, was also called in to help.

"They asked the parents to bring water bottles if they could, and I was lucky enough to be living up the street and I brought down some water bottles for my kid's class," said Mcauliffe.

In a Point Loma neighborhood at Whittier Street and Catalina Boulevard, about 15 homes and about 150 units in the Park Point Loma townhome community were also left dry.

"Tons of water pouring out," said Sandra Young.  "We looked over the fence and we saw there was a water break."

The only water residents had was from water wagons parked in the cul-de-sac.

"It is what it is. You can’t get mad," said Young.  "Our city’s old. The pipes need to be replaced.”

At Cabrillo Elementary, Logan had a great first day. The fact his school started out with no water never even sunk in.

The task of fixing the main and patching the roadway was expected to take at least until at least Tuesday midnight to complete, Colins said.  Nimitz Boulevard was reopened about 2 p.m., while the onramp to Famosa and Catalina Boulevard remained closed.

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