ITHACA, N.Y. — After a water main break this weekend, the 200 block of North Cayuga Street will need to be completely rebuilt and the work will likely take until May, the City of Ithaca says.

The water main break occurred Saturday on the 200 block of North Cayuga Street between Buffalo and Seneca streets and caused “significant damage to the road,” the city said in an update Wednesday. When the 89-year-old pipe broke, it washed out support materials for the water and gas lines.

“Unfortunately, it has become clear that to avoid further damage to the road and utility lines, and to prevent damage to vehicles, a complete rebuild is necessary before traffic can be allowed back on that section of road,” the city said.

The city has more than 90 miles of underground water pipes, and a third of them are more than 100 years old, and some are approaching 150 years old. Pipe age combined with “an increased trend in freeze thaw cycles due to climate change” have caused water main breaks to increase, the city said. This winter has had the highest number ever. To make some progress replacing underground infrastructure, the city funded a new streets crew in the 2019 budget.

Related: What you should know about Ithaca’s 2019 Budget

The city is working on creating a full schedule for repairs but said the work will include “removing the pavement, digging up and replacing the water and sewer lines, replacing the sand bedding around the gas line that was washed away by the water leak, and then rebuilding and compacting the subsurface.” The full process will likely take until May, the city said.

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.