Drivers should avoid the area of Mt. Vernon and Topeka in south Wichita.
“Actually it looked like a little mini-earthquake. That's what I thought,” said Manuel Villaseñor, who lives in the area of Topeka and Mt. Vernon. A water main break on the city's south side left residents without water Tuesday evening. Residents say they had little warning anything was wrong. The water main blowout happened shortly before 5:00 p.m.
Residents say one minute everything was normal, the next there was a large crack in the road with water and sand pouring out of it.
“My nephew was out walking the dog and told us that the road collapsed over on Topeka,” said Villaseñor.
As news spread the number of spectators grew. There was immediate speculation as to the cause.
“I was like, I don't know, it must just be the heat,” Villaseñor added.
But there wasn’t a whole lot of surprise.
“It's definitely not nothing new,” he added.
The water bubbled up out of the street from a crack that was about one and a half inches wide and about five to six feet long. Residents in the neighborhood say it's not unusual to see a sight like that. In fact, just two or three months ago they said the city was out making major repairs to the water lines in the area.
“They been making repairs around here for years,” said Villaseñor. “All the time. Constantly got repairs going on up and down this street.”
Repair crews had to wait for the utility companies to come out and mark where the lines were before they could begin to dig into the problem. Until they reach the 6’ cast iron line, they won’t have any idea how long it will take to repair it or how much the repairs will cost. While they also need to see the pipeline to determine the cause of the break, their chief suspect remains the heat.
Topeka remains closed at this hour from Mt. Venon to Skinner. Residents along Topeka, between Harry and Mt. Vernon are without water.