Downtown Victoria traffic mishap causes flood

Paul's Motor Inn forced to dig up parking lot due to hydrant shearing

  • Sep. 24, 2012 8:00 a.m.

Paul’s Motor Inn is digging up its parking lot after a relatively minor traffic accident led to major flooding damage Sunday.

A collision between a 73-year-old Victoria man and a 19-year-old Saanich man occurred in the intersection of Douglas and Chatham streets around 11:30 a.m.

The younger driver’s vehicle sheared off a fire hydrant near Paul’s, flooding the hotel’s basement and causing underground pipe damage.

“It sent some sort of shockwave down the waterpipe and fractured the pipe down on our land, so we’re going to have to dig up to find out where the break is,” said Ian Powell, managing director of Paul’s Motor Inn.

“We don’t quite know the extent of the damage yet.”

Also known as water hammer, pipes can crack from a sudden change in pressure and cause underground leaks.

“The pipes are designed for a certain pressure, so when the pressure fluctuates suddenly like that, there’s the potential for it to damage the pipe,” said John Sturdy, Victoria’s assistant director of utilities and facilities.

Sturdy said businesses may have noticed a discolouration of their tap water after the accident, a result of a small amount of silt being disturbed. “We flush our water mains regularly to keep silt from building up, so it’s nothing to worry about,” he said.

The drivers of the vehicles were unharmed, while a 67-year-old pedestrian suffered minor injuries. No charges have been laid, but VicPD crash analysts are reviewing the evidence.

Crews began digging up the damaged pipe Monday afternoon, Powell said, adding he will soon have a better idea of the damage.

“It’s amazing what a traffic accident can do,” he said.

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