Flooded northbound I-5
Flooded northbound Interstate-5 in downtown San Diego. Image from Caltrans video

Weekend water-main breaks in the East Village and the south end of Balboa Park kept a northbound stretch of Interstate 5 and several freeway connector ramps closed to traffic Monday in the busy downtown area.

Northbound I-5 was partially reopened late Monday night, but two connecting ramps remained closed.

The first of the two pipeline failures began flooding traffic lanes at A Street and 11th Avenue about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, city officials reported. By 6:45 p.m., when repair workers got the overflow halted, the surging water had created a sinkhole and inundated at least one business.

About 3 1/2 hours after the first round of flooding began, an Uber driver reported that a geyser of water had burst through his windshield and a passenger window, injuring a customer, on an Route 163 offramp near I-5, the California Highway Patrol said. It took crews roughly six hours to get the flow of water under control.

The extent of the Uber rider’s injuries was unclear.

As of the afternoon rush hour, the northbound side of I-5 was still closed between Hawthorne Street and Sixth Avenue, with traffic being detoured onto the latter street and northbound Route 163. Also remaining blocked off were the connectors from southbound Route 163 to northbound I-5 and Fourth Avenue, as well as the northbound Route 163 ramp to northbound I-5, the CHP advised.

Authorities had said they hoped to have all the affected stretches of roadway open again by early evening.

Updated at 4:40 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.