This afternoon on the east side of Milwaukee, Oakland Avenue experienced major flooding from the intersection of Kenwood Boulevard to East Locust Street. Due to a water main break, Oakland resembled a rushing river. Many people, including students, commute via Oakland and were affected by this and will continue to be affected by this until the city of Milwaukee’s Water Works fixes the pipe.
Ilya Kats is a UWM students that lives in a house on Oakland and discussed how it affected him.
“It was crazy to see it all while walking home from class.”
He first learned about the flooding from seeing other students’ Snapchat stories. Walking home from class, he saw it for himself. Kats stated that there was a lake in the middle of the intersection of Kenwood and Oakland.
“We weren’t really worried about our house since it was higher up,” he said. “But, some of the cars on the street were basically submerged. It was an interesting experience to have on your doorstep.”
UWM student Haley Holz also witnessed the water main break.
“It looked like a gushing river,” Holz said. “I could practically go canoeing down Oakland!”
She was shocked to see the entire road flooded, rushing past parked cars. Many students were out on the sidewalk viewing the scene and surprised to see so much water.
Oakland Ave. was closed for the majority of the day and parts of it will remain closed until the issue is resolved. Traffic was detoured to different routes, putting an obstacle in countless people’s workdays. Additionally, many companies were affected by the water main break. QDOBA, Noodles & Company, and Jimmy Johns are just a few businesses on Oakland, and each have parking lots that faced towards the flooded street, making it inaccessible to customers during most of the afternoon until the water was drained.
However, some people took advantage of the water rushing down the street. One man was spotted in a surfing suit with a snorkel, along with his friend who was carrying a wakeboard. They were both seen wakeboarding down the street.
A public water works official stated that the city isn’t sure what caused the water main break. He said that it is not unusual for pipes to break and that it is fairly common, whether it be because of frost, defects in the material, or normal wear and tear on the pipes. The Milwaukee Water Works will know more about the main break once they dig up the area and uncover more about the situation.
UWM sent out a safety alert via text message and email to notify its students about the incident, declaring that the water main affected the water pressure in some buildings on campus. The university worked alongside the city of Milwaukee to evaluate water quality as well.
Milwaukee Water Works will work on fixing the water main break as soon as they are able to. In the meantime, people are instructed to run their water for a bit if it appears to be cloudy and avoid the area under construction on Oakland Avenue.