Water main rupture sets off major disruption in Houston: citywide boil notice, Loop 610 flooded
A water main break Thursday in Houston has frozen traffic and closed several polling places on the second-to-last day of early voting.
A water main break Thursday in Houston has frozen traffic and closed several polling places on the second-to-last day of early voting.
Screenshot via KHOU 11

Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout.

A major water line broke Thursday in Houston, flooding roadways and causing the state’s largest school district, local colleges, polling places and businesses to close.

The flooded roads caused 12 to 15 cars to be trapped on 610 East Loop, but there have been no injuries, Houston fire Chief Robert Peña said. Firefighters were able to rescue three people from the area.

The 610 East Loop was reopened Friday, according to a tweet from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

All Houston ISD schools were closed Friday and set to reopen Monday, the school district announced. The University of Houston tweeted that its campus would be closed through Friday. Texas Southern University announced a delayed start for Friday. The school’s water system is at full pressure and all restrooms are functional, TSU said. The on-campus day care in the Allie Mitchell Building will be closed Friday. Houston Community College sent out an alert announcing the closure of several campuses as well.

Four early voting locations closed Thursday due to the break, according to Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman. All locations reopened Friday for the last day of early voting, Trautman tweeted.

Turner said at a press conference Thursday that both ends of the burst 96-inch line have been isolated. Repair work was to continue through Friday. In a Friday morning tweet, Turner said water pressure readings at midnight and 5 a.m. were stable. The mayor advised residents in the affected area to conserve water as much as possible and to boil water before use. The city is working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to approve a sampling plan to end the water boil advisory, Turner tweeted.

The Public Works Department is working to fix the problem, he said, and they needed to isolate the line, shut it off, drain the water from the line and make repairs.

The state agencies coordinating with city and county officials include the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a scheduled coronavirus press briefing Thursday.

“State personnel are ready to respond to any requests for assistance from local officials,” Abbott said.

Stacy Fernández contributed to this story.

Disclosure: The University of Houston and Texas Southern University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.