A large water main burst on New Year's Day in Fall River, turning streets into rivers and leaving a mess of buckled and collapsed pavement — including a massive sinkhole. Now crews are working to repair the damage — an endeavor which is likely to span several days.

Harrison Pray/TSM
Harrison Pray/Townsquare Media

The old pipe broke around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday near Rock and Locust streets. Crews cut water to the area, leaving around 40 residents without that essential service for most of the day. A new water main was brought in and installed by noon.

Bob Pearson, president of the Watuppa Water Board, told ABC6 that the century-old pipe succumbed to age and finally fell to freezing temperatures. The board governs the city's water division. Pearson said the burst pipe is about 100 years old and couldn't handle the freezing temperatures anymore. Locust Street will now be dug up and completely replaced at a cost of around $1 million. He said a contingency fund will cover the cost. Dennis Silva, general construction inspector for the city's engineering department, was on the scene Thursday. He told WBSM that the 16-inch diameter pipe was manufactured and laid in the 19th century. He added that the entire road repair project might take some time to complete. Crews are now performing road work and paving is set to begin soon. The area around the Probate and Family Court and Resiliency Middle School will be closed to traffic until further notice.

Residents told ABC6 they had never seen anything like it before. “It’s like a scene out of Hollywood. Like an earthquake,” said one man.

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