Water main break floods Old Seward Highway

Casey Grove
Marc Lester

A water main break in Midtown Anchorage flooded Old Seward Highway at 50th Avenue Friday afternoon, according to Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility.

Reports of water flooding Old Seward started coming in about 3:20 p.m., AWWU spokesman Chris Kosinski said. A crew had shut off water to the area, including businesses and a residential area, Kosinski said about an hour later. One of the highway's northbound lanes was closed late Friday, and city maintenance workers dropped sand to provide traction for vehicles, he said.

Still, the utility was asking drivers to avoid the area. Police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker described the area as "a mess."

Businesses from 48th Avenue to International Airport Road would be without water until the broken water main was fixed sometime Friday night or Saturday, Kosinski said. Nearby condominiums would be without water until 6:30 p.m. Friday at the latest, as the utility planned to connect the residences to fire hydrants, Kosinski said.

"We're going to work it tonight," he said. "They may have to steam thaw. We haven't made that determination."

It's unclear exactly what caused the water main to break, but recent cold weather is a likely culprit, Kosinski said.

Marie Blevins, a saleswoman at nearby Treeforms Furniture Gallery, described about 6 inches of water flowing onto Old Seward Highway

"I felt bad for the cars on the right hand lane, because that's where the water was the deepest," she said.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.