Huge crater shows where water blasted out of pipe in Lanesborough Road, Leicester
A crater 20 feet long, 15 feet wide and 12 feet deep is testament to the devastation caused when a mains water pipe burst in the city on Monday, flooding dozens of homes.
An entire side of the one-inch thick, 27-inch wide pipe – described as a "motorway" of the water supply network – is thought to have given way in the burst in Lanesborough Road, off Melton Road, Belgrave.
Severn Trent Water has paid for a number of people who were left without power throughout Monday to stay in hotels, while others chose to move in with relatives or stay put while they waited for power to be restored.
Yesterday a clean-up operation was under way in Lanesborough Road and the surrounding streets of Wavertree Drive, Sandringham Avenue, Berridge Lane and Clarke Street, where water rose to two feet in places on Monday.
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Roy Platt, 81, of Lanesborough Road, said: "They came and turned my electric off yesterday because my cellar had flooded. I went to stay with my son last night, but they've come to reconnect me this morning."
Frank Rysz, 52, also returned to his home in the road with mum Stella 77, after spending the night at a relative's home because they had no electricity or heating.
He said: "I've missed a second day's pay because I've had to be at home, but things seem to be okay now apart from a bit of a damp smell where the water came in under the floorboards.
"The main thing is we have heating and electricity back."
Simon Carr, 51, also of Lanesborough Road, said: "I remember a previous mains burst in the 1990s.
"The road was flooded then and that one took a couple of weeks to fix."
It is believed extremes of temperature caused by the onset of winter may have caused the ground to shift, weakening a joint and causing the water – which travels along the 10-mile pipe at immense pressure – to burst through the side.
Melton Road was closed between Watermead Way and Checketts Road for three hours, causing traffic chaos.
Rushey Mead Secondary School, in Melton Road, and Rushey Mead Primary School, in Gipsy Lane, which closed because they had no water on Monday, reopened yesterday.
Paul Wallis, of Severn Trent, said: "We did put some people up in a hotel, but some decided to stay there no matter what or move in with relatives.
"Power was disconnected to some homes which had suffered under-floor flooding.
"The water in the pipe is under a lot of pressure under normal conditions – about six times that of a car tyre.
"A bit of ground movement may have released pressure at one of the joints, and when that happens the whole pipe goes in one go."
Repair work is expected to go on for the rest of the week.
A spokesman for Severn Trent Water said: "We'd like to apologise to customers who may have been affected by the burst water pipe.
"All customers' water supply has been restored and we're working quickly to repair the section of pipe that was damaged by the burst.
"While we're working we'll need to keep Lanesborough Road closed and, due to the extent of damage, we expect this will be in place for the rest of the week. We'll keep the community and emergency services up-to-date on our progress and let them know as soon as we're able to open the road."