The Atwater Tunnel remains closed Wednesday following a flood that submerged several cars.

Engineers had to inspect the tunnel after the water was pumped out to ensure that it was still in good shape.

Southwest borough Mayor Benoit Dorais said Wednesday that the tunnel had finally been drained of water by mid-morning, but that there was still lots of water and mud south of the tunnel near the CN bridge.

Workers from a construction company broke a 60-centimetre water main at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday causing the flood and forcing the closure as about eight to 10 metres of water filled the tunnel.

"You have to avoid the area. This break is not in the tunnel, it's south of it, and it's flooding the tunnel with water," said city spokesperson Patrick Sabourin.

Mayor Valerie Plante was at the site, and asked Montrealers to stay away.

“It's under control, we're now closing the valve so there won't be any more water in the tunnel,” she said, adding that the water level will start to lower “slowly – but there's a lot of water… so it’s going to take a while.”

No one was injured, and there was no damage to houses, said Plante.


“We should be able in the coming hours to get back to normal – but at the same time, it will take many hours,” she said, although that proved to an optimistic estimate.

Montreal fire department Chief Bruno Lachance said all necessary precautions would be taken before the tunnel could reopen.

“We’re going to start by closing all the valves, pumping the water out, making sure that everything is secure, because there’s going to be some icy roads with the cold, so we’re going to reopen it when everything is safe,” he said.

Three cars belonging to construction workers parked near the tunnel were submerged by water when the pipe broke.

“They were not in the car, they were actually working on site when the water started to rise,” said Plante.

There are some detours in the area: