Main break spurs impromptu ‘block party’ as neighbors work to divert rushing water in Prairie Village

Neighbors used old doors to block the water. Photos by Sophie Tulp.
Neighbors used old doors to block the water. Photos by Sophie Tulp.

By Sophie Tulp

A water main break on the corner of 79th and Windsor Dr. in Prairie Village this evening had neighbors coming together for an unlikely gathering.

At around 5:30 p.m. Chris Russell — who lives in the corner house on 79th and Windsor — heard a knock on the door from a neighbor down the street. When he walked outside, the water main in front of his yard was spraying four feet of water into the air, causing a rush of water down his driveway and much of Windsor Dr. and eroding the concrete on 79th St.

“Luckily we had some old closet doors to put in the driveway, it was getting kind of forceful there at the end,” Russell said. “They turned the key in the asphalt a couple times and it seemed to shut it off.”

Neighbors reported that the main had broken before and had work done on it less than a year ago.

The situation drew about 20 neighbors from their homes, and many helped Russell divert the water with old cabinet doors and cinder block, away from his home which sits at the bottom of a slope.

About 45 minutes later WaterOne arrived on the scene and shut the main off as neighbors mused that the stream seemed to be getting bigger.

“That was kind of fun, a good way to meet people,” a neighbor from Mohawk Lane said to Russell as he helped support a piece of wood to keep the stream away from Russell’s car.

Other neighbors offered to bring materials out for the makeshift dam.

“The only concerns we always have is the erosion of the roads,” Prairie Village Police Sgt. Curt Winn said. “As soon as water district gets here with barricades, we can make sure traffic is safe and we don’t have any problems, that’s our only issue.”

Until the street is repaired, traffic will be diverted down Windsor and Reinhardt.