A large water pipe next to the University Village mall, just east of the University of Washington, erupted Tuesday afternoon, shooting a 20-foot geyser into the air and shutting down traffic at the start of rush hour.
The geyser shot up against the floor of the 45th Street Viaduct, which alarmed transportation officials initially, but bridge engineers with the Seattle Department of Transportation reported that the bridge appeared undamaged. The viaduct was closed following the break but reopened after 5 p.m.
Ingrid Goodwin, a spokeswoman with Seattle Public Utilities, called the water main break significant. The utility turned off the main, a 16-inch pipe, which also shut down water to three businesses – a hair salon, a restaurant and Schuck’s O’Reilly Auto Supply.
Goodwin said it was unclear whether the break was related to an expansive construction project at the luxury open-air mall.
Following the break, security and janitorial staff at the University Village used wide brooms to sweep up the debris. The mall’s south parking lot was inundated and a thin layer of sludge remained after an excavator truck sucked up the water.
Stores remained open, including Blue C Sushi, the restaurant closest to the water main break.