Route 119 southbound in Connellsville was shut down Wednesday morning because of a water main break that “devastated” a block of the roadway, said Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln.
Traffic headed south near the Wendy’s and Sheetz downtown was detoured onto West Crawford Avenue, which caused significant delays.
“We had to shut down a major highway,” Lincoln said. “Thankfully, we have an alternate route so we don’t have to put people in a parking lot.”
About 30 Pennsylvania-American Water Co. customers were without water due to the break, which was repaired a little after 1 p.m., Lincoln said. Officials hoped to have one lane of Route 119 southbound reopened by later in the afternoon.
It will take about five days to completely repair 180 feet of damaged roadway, Lincoln said. Traffic will be confined to one lane of Route 119 during the repairs.
“The water main is literally in the center of (Route) 119, so when it broke it devastated about a block of asphalt,” Lincoln said.
The line began breaking between 6 and 7 a.m. and then “erupted” at about 7:30 a.m., he said.
Connellsville Area School District planned alternate bus routes for Wednesday afternoon due to the closure. The school district sent a recorded message to parents saying the water main break and closure “could cause substantial traffic delays today at dismissal from school.”
“This closure will most likely affect the arrival times home for our secondary students who live on the west side of the Youghiogheny River and our elementary students who attend West Crawford Elementary and Dunbar Township Elementary,” the message said.
Lincoln said he was thankful for the volunteer firefighters who “sprang into action” for traffic control and to set up a detour.
“I’m thankful we have them, because it would be a lot worse if we didn’t,” he said.