Proper planning or perhaps an engineering services for construction administration could have possibly prevented a major flooding of downtown Montreal. Soil around an aged water pipe may have shifted during construction work causing the 47″diameter pipe to break and pour out 10.5 million gallons of water into the downtown streets in just 2 hours.
Moments before the water main broke, crews were working at a construction site at the McTavish reservoir near McGill University’s downtown campus.
The city’s water service said it’s possible the construction work near the water main caused the soil to shift, which led to the break.
Saeed Mirza is a professor emeritus at McGill University who specializes in structural engineering and the rehabilitation of infrastructure.
Mirza said the city should have known the pipe was vulnerable and taken the necessary precautions.
“It’s nearly a 100-year-old pipe. If the pipe was weakened, then any soil movement could easily fracture it,” he said. “Some engineer should have visualized this earlier.”