By Jordan Vest
Staff Writer

Cumberland Avenue was flooded early Wednesday, but not with the usual cars that pack the road during the morning commute. It was flooded with water.
Around 8 a.m. Wednesday, a water main broke underneath the street, causing water to cover the street.
“Cumberland Avenue was basically a river,” Andy Williamson said, general manager of Copper Cellar.
The incident caused businesses between 18th and 19th streets to be without water for several hours. The Knoxville Utilities Board hoped to have water restored to all affected businesses by around 2 p.m., Jennifer Fern, KUB spokeswoman, said.
Copper Cellar was one of about nine businesses to be affected by the break. Six or seven of the businesses were restaurants, said Rob Dansereau, president of the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association. Without water, all the restaurants had to be closed.
“It kind of stinks because it’s our burger day,” Williamson said of the impact the closure had on the Copper Cellar. “On average, it is our biggest day.”
Dansereau also believes the break will cause area businesses to be negatively affected.
“It has a traumatic effect on the businesses,” he said. “The restaurants are essentially out of business until it gets fixed.”
But Dansereau said water breaks are not uncommon for Cumberland Avenue.
Since 2004, there have been four water main breaks on Cumberland Avenue. The most recent break occurred in December 2005, Fern said.
Dansereau believes there will be more breaks to come.
KUB will patch the pipe instead of replacing it entirely, he said. This is because the Cumberland Avenue area is currently undergoing planning for a redevelopment plan called the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Study. Once the Cumberland Avenue Redevelopment Plan begins, the water main will then be replaced.
Another problem caused by the break is that Cumberland Avenue, a four-lane road, was reduced to two lanes. The break caused both westbound lanes to be closed, which meant that all traffic had to be funneled through the eastbound lane.
“The difficulty of traffic flow will negatively impact businesses on Cumberland,” Dansereau said.
The traffic will not lessen until the westbound lane is reopened Thursday afternoon, tentatively.
Once the water main is repaired, KUB will begin road repairs. KUB hopes to have the road fixed by mid-afternoon Thursday, Fern said, but motorists should expect delays.
At the time of writing, the cause of the break had not yet been determined.