A hole lot of trouble in CBD, again

ROAD WOE: Traffic backs up in Ipswich CBD due to a burst water main on Brisbane St.
ROAD WOE: Traffic backs up in Ipswich CBD due to a burst water main on Brisbane St. David Nielsen

AN INFAMOUS water network that inflicted traffic havoc on the heart of Ipswich three years ago has reared its unpleasant head again.

A water main under the road near the intersection of Brisbane and East Sts in the city's CBD burst about 12.30pm on Friday.

In 2009, a hole under the intersection caused by a major water leak, led to protracted disruption in and around the centre of town.

Businesses near the intersection badly affected by the previous leak started getting nervous as road workers moved in.

A Transport and Main Roads department spokesman said repairs would be carried out through the night with Brisbane St expected to open by 8am today, weather permitting.

Brisbane St was closed between East and Gordon Sts and police were called in to direct traffic around the intersection, especially as rush hour arrived but traffic clogged the city centre.

Queensland Urban Utilities workers arrived soon after the leak was spotted in the Safe City monitoring room to start repairing the 150mm pipe.

"Crews have been working to repair the pipe since about 1pm. However, it's the road resurfacing that'll take the most time," a spokeswoman said.

Ipswich councillor Andrew Antoniolli was nearby when the leak started and he arrived quickly to liaise with surrounding businesses.

"It's a really bad time. If it had been Saturday it would have been a lot less dramatic," Cr Antoniolli said.

He said this leak didn't seem to have the potential for the same troubles caused by the March 2009 225mm water main eruption.

On March 25, 2009, what was first reported as a pothole at the intersection developed into a crater the size of a two-car garage.

Traffic was thrown into chaos for a week as it was repaired, highlighting the fragility of Ipswich's inner-city road network.

"Obviously it looks very intense because it's affected the whole road, but we're not looking at something as dramatic as a whopping big hole under the road," Cr Antoniolli said.

"That's cold comfort to the businesses in the area, but it certainly means the problem should be fixed a lot earlier."

For Kate Hill, owner of nearby Body Bare Beauty, yesterday's leak was an unwelcome reminder of the events of three years ago.

"It's very inconvenient because with beauty and hairdressing we're legally required to have water flowing to operate," she said.

"That means closure for the rest of the afternoon, loss of trade and ringing clients for tomorrow to tell them we can't operate if it affects our parking and people can't get to us. Last time, we had about a third to half our clients reschedule and that really put us out of whack.

"It doesn't look fantastic; especially when you're told they're going to start digging up the road."

Topics:  department of transport and main roads ipswich cbd water main

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