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Eastbound Lanes Open After Sewage Main Break On William Lehman Causeway

AVENTURA (CBSMiami) - On Friday afternoon, authorities had reopened the eastbound lanes after a sewer main break closed the William Lehman Causeway for most of the day.

Crews say they will finish repairs and fully re-open the Causeway on Saturday.

The break in a 24-inch sewer main line caused a hole in the Causeway late Thursday night. Aventura police say they were made aware of the break after a driver struck what they thought was a pothole just west of Country Club Drive.

"Our officers responded roughly around 10 p.m. last night. There was some type of collapse that was occurring, as a matter of fact, one of the vehicles struck what appeared to be a pothole initially, that's how we got the call. As the officers arrived, we noticed that the integrity of the road was actually collapsing. As we all know in Florida we have a lot of sinkholes, so that's a very big incident for us," said Aventura police Officer Hans Maestre.

The broken pipe is 12-feet underground, which is under the water table. Workers are clearing out the water so they can access the pipe. The flow of sewage has been re-routed so the damaged area of the pipe can be isolated for the repair. County officials say there were no service interruptions.

Water and Sewer workers say the pipe was installed in 1979 and that the shelf life for pipes varies depending on what it's used for and where it's installed. In fact, on Thursday, the county tweeted a video of Water and Sewer Department Director Kevin Lynskey discussing a multi-billion dollar effort to repair and replace aging water and sewer infrastructure throughout the county.

"Over the next 5 to 10 years we're gonna put in substantial investments to keep their water clean and make sure their wastewater is treated," Lynskey said.

And it's a massive undertaking. Miami-Dade County has 14-thousand miles of water and sewer pipes serving 2.3 million customers.

"We are investing billions of dollars in upgrading and replacing thousands of miles of water pipes, sewer pipes, upgrades at our sewer pump stations as well as at our water treatment plants and sewer treatment plants," said Messemer-Skold.

For now, traffic is shut down in both directions on the causeway. It could take up to 12 hours to repair the main and fix the road. Drivers are advised to seek an alternate route, either Hallandale Beach Boulevard or 163rd Street.

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