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Water main break floods Cherry Road

Cars drive through the water from a busted water main on Cherry Road near the intersection of Anderson Road on Sunday. City officials expect repair work to keep portions of Cherry Road blocked through Tuesday morning.
Cars drive through the water from a busted water main on Cherry Road near the intersection of Anderson Road on Sunday. City officials expect repair work to keep portions of Cherry Road blocked through Tuesday morning.

Morning commutes north along Cherry and North Anderson roads will be disrupted, likely through Tuesday morning, because of a broken water main at the intersection of Cherry and North Anderson.

The line burst around 5 p.m. Sunday, rupturing the street in several places on northbound Cherry Road at the intersection and sending water flooding into nearby parking lots. The torrent reached as far south as the Super Bi-Lo on Cherry Road, stranding some customers of nearby businesses inside.

"I was on top of it while it was moving around," Riverview Firefighter Robert Lee Jones said. "I don't know, I was scared. I thought it was the end of the world."

As the ground started moving under Jones' truck, he could hear water rushing up from beneath the street. At first, he thought it was an earthquake, he said.

Always on duty, Jones parked his truck in a nearby lot and started directing oncoming traffic from northbound North Anderson Road around the intersection through adjacent parking lots, until a Rock Hill Police officer arrived to take over.

"I was sitting there, and the ground started shaking. I thought I'd done something wrong," Jones said. "I thought this was it."

Less than a block to the south, Sue Mayberry was eating an early dinner at Shoney's, when she looked up to find rushing water nearly a foot deep cutting her off from her car. The water never came inside the restaurant, but the parking lot looked more like a river than a patch of asphalt for nearly an hour.

"How am I supposed to get to my car, then get out of here?" Mayberry asked. "The city is definitely going to hear from me about this.

"They should have been here sooner," she continued. "This has been like this for an hour now."

Shoney's assistant manager Shelly Hemphill said the line break kept customers away Sunday afternoon and affected the restaurant's water pressure.

"I was washing my hands in the sink when I noticed the pressure was low, and then someone said, 'Look outside,'" Hemphill said.

If the intersection is closed for the next two days, Hemphill said, it would probably ruin the breakfast rush on those days.

Tyler Urso, co-manager at the Super Bi-Lo on Cherry Road, said the water pressure in the store's meat department was affected Sunday afternoon. Depending on the scale of the road closure, the store may not be able to open its perishables departments -- the bakery, coffee shop, deli and meat department -- through Tuesday.

Water pressure along the line heading into Fort Mill and York County was down Sunday afternoon, according to Rock Hill spokeswoman Lyn Garris. Officials are asking area residents to cut back on water usage because of the low pressure.

By 6:15 p.m. Sunday, the line had been isolated, and only a few customers were without water, said Rock Hill Water and Sewer Superintendent Scott Turner. The water level in the Fort Mill water tower was on its way back up as well, he said.

Rock Hill Police and Water and Sewer crews blocked the intersection and diverted traffic after the break. The Water and Sewer crew will have to dig up the street to repair the line. Work to repair the street won't begin until today and may not be finished until Tuesday morning, Turner said.

"No one is making asphalt on Sunday," he said.

However, a work crew had been lined up to begin repairing the street today, Turner said. It was uncertain Sunday afternoon how extensive the road work would be, but according to Garris, the city hoped the traffic patterns along the roads could return to normal by Tuesday.

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