A water main break near the intersection of York and Shawan roads in the Hunt Valley section of Baltimore County last night caused sections of the road to collapse and disrupted water service to an unknown number of homes and businesses.
Work crews were laboring early today, trying to repair the break before the morning's rush-hour traffic, said an official of Baltimore's Department of Public Works, which provides water service to the county.
James L. Kapplin, a city public works spokesman, said a 30-inch water main broke around 9 p.m. under York Road, about 200 feet
south of Shawan, causing a loss of water pressure to customers north along York Road toward Sparks.
He said that within two hours of the break, nearly 100 people called in and complained of either no water or low water pressure -- and in some cases, discolored water.
Water damaged the first floor and basement of an unknown number of businesses and homes located near the site of the break, according to Baltimore County police.
In less than 30 minutes of the break, city and county utility crews were on the scene and turned off the flow of water flooding into the roadway, but not before sections of York Road undermined by the water had collapsed.
Once the break was located, Mr. Kapplin said, water that normally flowed through the 30-inch main was diverted to a nearby 16-inch line.
"Until the 30-inch main is fixed," Mr. Kapplin said, "water customers along York Road north of Shawan Road all the way up to Sparks will have less water pressure but the water will be safe to drink."
Mr. Kapplin said the cause of the break was not immediately known.
He also was unable to say when the break would be repaired.
Baltimore County police set up roadblocks on York Road north and south of the break and rerouted the late-night traffic.