By Bill Parry
Traffic was a nightmare for much of Friday morning in Elmhurst after a massive water main break forced the NYPD to close Queens Boulevard in both directions for several blocks.
A construction crew had been operating at 51-35 Reeder St. near Broadway when shoring pilings they were installing struck a water main, sending a geyser skyward that flooded surrounding streets around 8 a.m., according to the city Department of Environmental Protection.
All of the construction workers were accounted for and none were injured in the mishap, according to the FDNY. One of the buildings on the construction site’s perimeter had to be partially evacuated as FDNY personnel inspected basements for electric and gas problems, according to Fire Department Chief Frank Leeb. Water service had to be shut down for several hours, according to the DEP.
Some buses were rerouted and subway service was disrupted on the E, F, M and R lines.
DEP workers were able to shut off the 20-inch city water main around noon and crews began cleaning the streets to prepare for the evening rush.
Queens Boulevard reopened to traffic around 1 p.m. except for the westbound service road
The contractor will be billed for all of the repair work, according to a DEP spokesman. If residents or businesses were flooded and suffered any damage they can file a claim with the city comptroller’s office, he said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr