Nineteenth-century infrastructure caused a 21st century headache Monday in downtown Kansas City when a broken water main shut down the streetcar system for several hours.
The streetcar resumed service about 7:30 p.m. Monday after suspending service for several hours because the water main dating from 1886 broke at 16th and Baltimore streets.
The KC Streetcar Authority announced the stoppage in a tweet posted at 3:45 p.m. Water from the broken main flooded the area where the streetcar passes through on Main Street.
Part of downtown’s 130-year-old water and sewer main infrastructure was replaced before streetcar rail tracks were installed on Main Street and in River Market in 2015. But this particular 10-inch main at 16th and Baltimore was a block away from the route and has not yet been replaced.
Kip Peterson, communications manager with Kansas City Water Services, said the water was shut off at the break and the heavy flow stopped sometime after 4 p.m. But debris still littered the streetcar route at 5 p.m. The Streetcar Authority provides regular updates on service disruptions, and service resumptions, on Twitter, @kcstreetcar.
Peterson said crews would start repairs soon on the broken section of pipe. He said the valves near the break worked, and no customer was left without water as a result of the break. The water department also provides updates on Twitter, @KCMOwater.