SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/CNS) - Utility crews worked through the night and reopened all eastbound lanes of Interstate 8 Friday morning, about 18 hours after a major water line ruptured near Hotel Circle, flooding the freeway and opening a gaping sinkhole that blocked all lanes before and during rush-hour traffic.
"All lanes on I-8 at Hotel Circle have reopened to traffic," CalTrans tweeted at 6:17 a.m. Friday.
The freeway was completely blocked for about six hours Thursday and reduced to a single lane overnight as crews repaired the ruptured line and the roughly eight-foot wide sinkhole, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The rupture, which officials believe was related to three water main breaks earlier Thursday in the Morena area, was first reported about noon Thursday. It sent water spewing about 20 feet in the air as motorists slammed on their brakes and used cellphone cameras to capture the spectacular geyser on the southern edge of I-8 near Hotel Circle South.
The surge from the failed 30-inch-diameter transmission pipeline soon created a sinkhole about eight feet wide in the roadway, forcing a closure of all eastbound lanes in the area. The CHP also shut down all onramps and connectors leading to the flooded stretch of freeway.
With traffic backing up heavily for miles around, authorities directed stranded motorists to turn around and double back on the southern shoulder, then exit at Taylor Street.
Utility personnel had the overflow halted by 3:30 p.m., city spokesman Arian Collins said. About 2 1/2 hours later, the CHP and Caltrans reopened two of the four eastbound lanes in the area, but reduced traffic back to one lane overnight for repairs.
The main break likely was related to three others that occurred Thursday morning in close proximity to each other on nearby Morena Boulevard, Collins said.
Watch: Chopper 8 over Mission Valley where a water main break has blocked traffic on Interstate 8 East and caused water to gush onto the freeway the area of Hotel Circle East.
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