Drivers Trapped as Water Main Break Floods Bronx Expressway
A water main break early Thursday flooded a major highway in the Bronx, trapping drivers in their cars, snarling traffic on the George Washington Bridge and submerging the surrounding streets, officials said.
The rapidly rising waters sluiced onto the Cross Bronx Expressway from above, officials said, stranding eight people around 3 a.m. on a cold morning until emergency workers came to their rescue. Seven vehicles were abandoned, some appearing to poke through the water’s surface like bath toys.
The cause of the break, on Jerome Avenue near 175th Street, was not yet clear, a Fire Department spokesman said, but the rupture highlighted the brittle state of New York City’s aging subterranean infrastructure.
The high water levels appeared to be dropping, the Fire Department spokesman said, but it was still too early to determine the extent of the damage.
New York City has nearly 7,000 miles of water mains whose average age is nearly 70 years. The city spends hundreds of millions every year on repairs and has embarked on a major effort to replace water mains and other underground infrastructure.
Several high-profile breaks over the past year have closed streets, snarled traffic, disrupted public transportation and destroyed a beloved movie theater near Lincoln Center.
Just three days ago, Off Broadway’s York Theater in Midtown Manhattan was wrecked by flooding and mud from a break.
Around 8 a.m. on Thursday, the Cross Bronx Expressway — a thoroughfare that before the pandemic was choked with traffic most weekday mornings — was closed in both directions at Jerome Avenue, according to the Police Department.
Ansumana Ceesay, the manager of a Dollar Expo store on the northeast corner of Jerome Avenue and 175th Street, said he spent the morning cleaning up and trying to save about $10,000 worth of merchandise.
“The store was full of water,” Mr. Ceesay said.
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