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Quality of Life

Water Line Rupture Shuts Down Eastbound I-8

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A major water line ruptured underneath Interstate 8 in Mission Valley Thursday, causing a spectacular geyser that flooded the freeway, dug a gaping sinkhole in the pavement and shut down the eastbound lanes of the regional route through the afternoon.

Motorists hit their brakes, stared in awe and fired up their cellphone cameras as a plume of water began spewing about 20 feet into the air on the southern edge of I-8 near Hotel Circle South shortly after noon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The surge from the failed 30-inch-diameter transmission pipeline soon excavated a sinkhole about eight feet wide in the roadway, forcing a closure of all eastbound lanes in the area.

The CHP also shut down all onramps and connectors leading to the flooded stretch of freeway.

With traffic backing up heavily for miles around, authorities directed the stranded motorists to turn around and double back on the southern shoulder, then exit at Taylor Street.

Utility personnel had the overflow halted by 3:30 p.m., city spokesman Arian Collins said. About 2 1/2 hours lager, the CHP and Caltrans reopened two of the four eastbound lanes in the area.

As of early this evening, city officials still had no estimate for when repairs to the pipeline and roadway would be complete.

The main break likely was related to three others that occurred late this morning in close proximity to each other in the nearby Morena area, Collins said.