Repairs continue overnight on Birdland water main break

SAN DIEGO - A water main break that took hours to halt flooded a Birdland neighborhood Wednesday, inundating garages and disrupting water service to several nearby hospitals along with dozens of houses and apartments.

The ruptured 18-inch cast-iron pipeline began sending water surging out of buckled asphalt in the 2600 block of Meadow Lark Drive shortly before 4 p.m., according to police and the San Diego Water Department. The mishap forced the closure of traffic lanes in the immediate area.

Among facilities temporarily losing water service was Rady Children's Hospital. The pediatric medical center had service restored by 5:30 p.m., spokesman Carlos Delgado said.

Also affected were Sharp Memorial, Sharp Mary Birch and Sharp Mesa Vista Hospitals. The disruption to those facilities was ongoing as of 6:30 p.m., according to spokesman John Cihomsky. A spokeswoman said there has been intermittent water service at the facilities because of low water pressure due to the water main break. She said the hospitals are operating as normal and are continuing to accept patients.

All the hospitals have emergency stores of water, and none reported any adverse effects to patient care.

The nearby county juvenile court and detention center also was affected to some degree, SDWD spokesman Arian Collins said. A representative for the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility says it is relying on bottled water and that more drinking water and portable toilets are on the way. Officials are evaluating whether they will need to temporarily transport the children to the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility in Otay Mesa. Juvenile court will be open Thursday and those who have business with the court should plan to appear.

Residents told news crews that the overflow had flooded some residential garages on Nightingale Way.

"I can't even imagine how much this is ... hopefully they have a plan for this," said resident Bernard Label.

Live television shots showed people wading, swimming and floating on inflatable rubber rafts in ponds of water in front of homes and apartment complexes in the area.

Utility crews got the overflow under control at about 6:20 p.m., according to Collins. Full restoration of service and repair of the damaged sections of roadway were expected to take until about noon Thursday, he said.

Customers in the 2600 to 2800 blocks of Meadow Lark Drive and the 7900 block of Nightingale Lane were without water service overnight Wednesday. Collins said early Thursday morning that crews recharged the water main by 6 a.m., and water would be back on for residents by 7 a.m.

Cleanup and road repair were expected to be complete by noon Thursday. Meadow Lark Drive was closed to traffic.

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