403 landslide caused by broken watermain

(Updated)The latest on the mudslide on the 403 in Hamilton Friday that crippled traffic in the surrounding area for more than 12 hours today.The area has now been cleared, but crews are still looking into what happened, and why.We’ve had a number of accidents on the 403 that have snarled traffic in the past. But no single instance has tied up the city as badly, or for as long, as the mess we had today. And the fault didn’t belong to anyone who was driving.It was the most un-natural — natural disaster:A massive mudslide — caused by a massive water main break. A man-made flood.Dan McKinnon, City of Hamilton: Clearly the slope was saturated with water over the longer term and it just got to the point where it failed and made its way on to the highway here.And ‘here’ was one of the worst possible spots it could have happened, in a busy, and often bottlenecked traffic corridor, that was now completely plugged.The result was spectacular — and arresting.The resulting traffic chaos, tied up the central core for hours, and turned routine trips into expeditions.And while drivers fumed, work crews scrambled to clear the mud and debris that clogged the major artery. But the city was already in a kind-of ‘car’-diac arrest.There were no alternate routes to fall back on. Every one of them, was jammed.Twelve hours after the initial closure of the highway, the city’s main streets began to get back to normal, and the 403 was finally open once more.The city water main is still shut off — but the Royal Botanical Garden is the only area without service.City engineers are still inspecting the hillside where the break occurred to assess what needs to be done to stabilize the soil, and repair the main. That process may take a few days. But for now — most of the city is glad, that this particular day on the roads, is finally over. read more