Water Main Break on Atlantic Ave, Flatbush Avenue and Court Street Choke off Brooklyn Traffic

News Flash: Water Main Break At Atlantic Avenue

News Update on the water main break

Potential Choke Hold on Flatbush Ave - Atlantic Avenue Intersection 2,3,4,5,D,N and R Trains

One Sunday February 9th a 48 inch water main exploded on Atlantic Avenue and Court Street in the most critical traffic bottleneck in the Borough. At 10:24PM on Sunday Night, the Water Department is reporting that the Main is still being worked on with an impending Monday morning rush hour lurking just a few hours away. The Traffic Department s 24 information number at 1-212-442-7070 says nothing in it's recorded message about the water main break. It does say that only that one lane on the east side of Flatbush Ave (North Bound) but gives no reason as to way. Nor does the Message say anything about the time the message was recorded.

The Water Department is unsure as to the present status of the break. For information on transit they referred you to the above phone number for the Department of Traffic. They also gave the following Phone Number for Subway information 1-718-330-3331. No one answered the phone at this number and the TA's regular Subway information phone number is now only open from 6AM to 9PM at night.

So this is the situation: At 10PM at night, with a water main break which can potentially strand East New York, Brownsville, Crown Heights, Bedford-Sty, Flatbush, Midwood, Flatlands, Sheepshead Bay, Mill Basin, and parts of Park Slope, NOT A SINGLE city agency thought Brooklyn was important enough to man phones after people would be coming home and catching the nightly news reports of the Water Main Break which can potentially strangle general access to Manhattan from all of our Subway Lines accept the A, G, and F trains and general road access to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. In addition, keep in mind that the Gouwanas Expressway is under reconstruction with limited or no access from Central Brooklyn to The Prospect Expressway accept via Hamilton Avenue and lane closures on the Gouwanas itself.

Also be aware that 48 inch water main breaks create massive damage to the roadway and construction repair can be expected in the coming weeks.

Lastly - It should be noted that the City is aware that many of our water mains need to be replaced. But up till now, it has been the position of the City that it is easier to just let them burst then doing the massive work which is needed to repair the mains. In this case, this main, if it would have broken during rush hour would have no doubt caused loss of life, and will complicate an already impossible traffic situation in downtown Brooklyn with the Manhattan Bridge, Flatbush Ave, the BQE and most of our major subway lines currently under repair.

We will make an on the spot inspection of the sight tomorrow and report back to you

Mayor Guilliani's email address

Updated Report


2-11-97 1 PM

After yesterdays water main break on Court Street and Atlantic Avenue, two lanes of Atlantic Avenue have been closed off for repair on one of the oldest road beds in Brooklyn.

The water main which broke was located on the north side of Atlantic Avenue, across from and in front of the public parking garage located on the north-east corner of Atlantic and Court Street. Sidewalk pavement on Atlantic Avenue in front of the garage had been thrust up at a 45 degree angle near the garage wall from water damage.

By 11 AM on Monday afternoon, one-half the width of the four lane roadway on Atlantic Ave. had already been turned-up with centuries old cobblestone stacked on the sidewalk, and the main itself had been repaired, its cracked section removed. The new pipe was covered up by soil and dirt and on the sidewalk lay a section of a 4 foot wide pipe, neatly cut, the remnants of the new water main which was lowered into the ground and welded into place.

The police covered the area, controlling traffic in every direction two blocks around and a cement truck was on the scene, ready to lay new roadbed over the topsoil. When asked by this reporter how long half of Atlantic Avenue would be closed down, one worker said for a couple more days. When asked if this would be enough time to put in a quality roadway since many emergency road repairs sink after a year, the worker said that on those sites either the ground was not packed hard enough or the cement used was not correct. But he was confident that the road would be properly repaired.

So it happens, the entire Borough lucked out, for if this break would have been four blocks East, and during rush hour, most of Brooklyn's transportation Grid would have been paralyzed and loss of life could have occurred within the Atlantic Ave. Subway Station. Water mains in the area have recently had problems, including one main very close to the DeKalb Train Station for the D, Q, N, and R lines. With this current water main break on Felix Street, near the Williamsburg Bridge Bank, it seems to have undermined the foundation of a home on Felix Street.

It would seem, with so much at stake, that it would be logical to have the water mains in this area replaced prior to the need of emergency action. In fact, this can be said about all the water mains in NYC. But downtown Brooklyn is particularly suspect for problems do to the age of the water mains in that area, and the bottleneck of underground subways in the area, the largest concentration of stations and tracks in New York City.

Rumbling subway trains can contribute to the wear and tear that these pipes endure. In addition, in some areas around Long Island University and DeKalb Avenue, whole sections of sidewalk are suspended over empty holes as water leaks and weather have removed solid ground and soil under the sidewalks. With so much recently invested into the downtown Brooklyn area, an infrastructure failure could set us back for years.

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