Portion of west Charlotte intersection reopens after massive water main break

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The intersection of Freedom Drive and West Morehead Street in west Charlotte was closed Sunday afternoon due to a large water main break, officials said.

Monday morning, crews reopened both directions of Morehead Street and inbound Freedom Drive, but outbound Freedom Drive remained closed.

Businesses in the immediate area were closed, according to Charlotte Fire officials. The city said the situation was “extremely dangerous,” and the intersection closed to vehicles and pedestrians.

Charlotte Water said a 20-inch water main broke, though it hasn't determined the reason why as of yet. The company said that within an hour of arriving at the scene, pressure was restored to affected areas.

Witnesses told Channel 9 they felt a vibration and then saw all the water rushing down the street. The force of it buckled the asphalt and impacted water pressure at Charlotte Douglas Airport and nearby businesses.

Several businesses including Rhino's Deli and Pinky's Westside Grill had to close early and both restaurants saw signs of cloudy water after the water main break.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” said Gina Morton, who was at Rhino Deli. “You could've blown up a raft and rafted down Freedom Drive. It was insane.”

Charlotte Water tested the restaurant’s water Monday morning and gave them the approval to use it for their popular coffees and teas. The water is safe. Rhino Deli reopened its doors Monday.

Pinky's restaurant manager said customers were eating outside on the patio when water rushed toward them.

“They said the road just lifted up,” Jordan Ryan said. “It looked surreal, according to them and then water started flowing toward them.”

No injuries were reported and water did not get inside the restaurant.

Ryan said most of its employees spent the morning cleaning up the mud outside the restaurant.

"We were worried," Ryan said. "We wanted to make sure all of our customers got out safe and didn't have any issues."

Charlotte Water said it has hired contractors to fix the pipe and the road, but the repair could take several days. Detours are in place for drivers throughout the process.

Charlotte Water said during the repair process, some customers may have low pressure or discolored water. Those with low pressure should call 311. Those with discolored water should flush cold water for 15 minutes and call 311 if the problem persists.

This is a developing story. Check back with Eyewitness News for more details.