Water main break leads to cavernous eight-foot hole in street

CREATED Mar 6, 2014 - UPDATED: Mar 6, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - It started out as a small water main break, then became a big hole in the road.  The mess was at Palmer and Townsend on Milwaukee's north side. By 3:30pm, it was finally cleared up, making people who live there, and those just passing through, feel better.

Postal carriers get the mail out around the rain, sleet and snow, and holes in the road.

“When I finally got on this street to deliver the mail, I seen this big ‘ole hole and you could just hear the water rushin’ everywhere and I was just scared to drive my car over, ya know," said Mario Evans, a postal carrier.

The problem at Palmer and Townsend started a few days ago with a hole the size of a golf ball.

“It started about that big and every day more asphalt just went in like if I went out with my foot and went like that, some asphalt would fall in," said Anthony Gray, who lives on the block.

He feared that a car would drive over it and get caught.

After much anxiety in the neighborhood, someone finally reported it to the Milwaukee Water Works Department.

Crews spent the night tearing up this street, a big job. More than 14 hours later, a sunny day was helping them complete the work.

Crews found a broken six inch water main, and a damaged sewer line. They had to shut off the water. That was harsh, particularly for the older folks living nearby.

"My mom, she’s elderly, 86. We haven’t had any water and that’s real bad for us," said Edward, who lives on the block but didn't want to give his last name.

A spokeswoman for Milwaukee Water Works tells us it's been a brutal winter for water main breaks. Last month alone saw 244 of them.