Tons of water flooding road underneath Highway 99 from burst pipe

Apr 15, 2024, 6:45 AM | Updated: 12:02 pm

A pipe burst underneath Highway 99 in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood and was spewing tons of water onto the roads for several hours.

The incident was first reported at approximately 3:50 a.m. Monday. It happened on Highway 99 just south of the 1st Avenue Bridge.

Just before 7 a.m., the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) were able to shut the water off.

Some of the water got onto the highway, but most of it gushed onto the lanes below the thoroughfare on W. Marginal Way, particularly the lanes heading south. A huge pool of water formed, which has limited the road’s availability for morning commuters. W. Marginal Way is limited to one lane because of the water, as of this reporting.

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The south HOV lane is also closed on Highway 99 on the First Avenue South Bridge in South Seattle.

The burst pipe is believed to be a water line for a fire hydrant on Highway 99. WSDOT and SPU crews are at the scene repairing the pipe, but there’s currently no word on the cause of the incident.


A man arriving to work in a nearby industrial building told KIRO Newsradio he saw the water spilling onto Highway 99.

“Just a crazy, chaotic waterfall,” Tim said, offering just his first name. “I drove up on the bridge, it was actually going up on the bridge, as well.”

A utility worker at the scene said crews spent hours trying to get into an underground chamber where valves for the pipes were present, but they needed to first move a concrete block off the metal hatch. The block, the worker said, was placed there to keep homeless people out of the subterranean workspace.

He said ultimately, WSDOT shut off the water “electronically,” but only after hours of the pipe dumping gallons of water every second.

There was some debate about which public office — WSDOT, Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities — had responsibility to fix the pipe, the worker said.

A spokesperson with SPU referred KIRO Newsradio’s questions on the matter to WSDOT.

The state department’s spokesperson said “WSDOT crews are working on the hydrant and will inspect the bridge” but offered no further information on what led to the delay or how the pipe burst.

This is a developing story, check back for updates

Contributing: Frank Sumrall, MyNorthwest

You can read more of Sam Campbell’s stories here. Follow Sam Campbell on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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