A break in a water line to just a single residence on Washington Street wreaked havoc for thousands of motorists heading into and out of the city via Grant Circle on Tuesday morning.
Gloucester police and crews from the Department of Public Works closed both lanes of Washington Street between Madison Avenue and Knowlton Square for more than an hour, and through traffic was limited to inbound drivers only for two hours more while Public Works crews repaired the line.
Public Works chief Mike Hale said the break was not in one of the city's significant mains.
"It (was) in a very inconvenient place at an inconvenient time," said Hale, whose crews began working on the main shortly after 7 a.m., shut down both lanes of traffic from roughly 9:45 to 11, and had the water line and road work completed shortly after noon.
Hale said Public Works got a call sometime late Monday night or in the wee hours of Tuesday morning about water bubbling up on the roadway, and Public Works brought out its crews first thing in the morning in response. The incident, Hale said, came on a day when Public Works held off other road projects in the city because of the upcoming holiday.
Responding crews found the break in a line that connects the residence to the water main, but the residence is on the east side of Washington Street, while the main runs closer to the west side of the street, he said, past Greely's Funeral Home and the pottery shop, Glazed.
Repairing the service didn't require shutting the water off on Washington Street, and left only the residence connected to the broken service without water, Hale said.
Public Works crews worked to clear the scene well before visitors began arriving for the Fishtown Horribles Parade, which formed at Gloucester High School and drew hundreds of participants down Washington Street to Centennial Avenue and the parade's starting point, Gloucester High School.
The parade stepped off on schedule at 6 last night.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.