19th Century water main bursts, prompting building evacuations and road closures in Boston

BOSTON (WHDH) - A massive water main break turned streets in Boston’s Back Bay section into rushing rivers late Monday night, prompting the evacuation of six buildings, along with a number of road closures.

Water could be seen pouring down Exeter Street and Commonwealth Avenue after a 16-inch pipe that dates back to the 19th Century burst around 9:40 p.m., according to the Boston Fire Department.

The water gushed into the basements of many homes and apartments, causing significant damage. Some neighborhood residents were forced to evacuate, while others will be without water until further notice.

Firefighters and water officials scrambled to bring the break under control but the road quickly buckled. The leak has since been shut down.

“You could see the water gushing down the stairs. You could see them taking people out,” one neighborhood resident told 7News.

Crews were working to widen the roadway when the water line was punctured. Repairs were hindered by a gas line that runs beneath the ground.

Boston police are asking motorists to avoid the area and to seek alternate routes while crews work to clean up the mess.

Commonwealth Avenue is closed to motorists and pedestrians from Dartmouth Street to Exeter Street and reopened at Fairfield Street. Motorists are being redirected to Beacon Street for access to Kenmore Square.

Commonwealth Avenue inbound is open from Massachusetts Avenue to the Public Gardens.

Crews are still working to clean up the area but people have been allowed back into the homes and businesses that were evacuated.

Crews hope to have the section of road affected back open in time for Wednesday’s morning commute.

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