MONTREAL—It's been almost a week since a water main burst on Ste-Catherine St. between St-Mathieu St. and Guy St., now some downtown merchants are losing patience with the city.

The important commercial artery has been closed ever since a brick sewer built in 1885 collapsed. While replacing it, workers found a hole where they should have found a main, just a few meters away.

Ordinarily these repairs would have taken a few days, but there have been complications.

“We had colder temperatures than we had hoped for,” said Anik de Repentigny, a spokesperson for the Ville-Marie borough.

While the work continues, businesses in the area are feeling the pinch. A nearby grocery store claims that business is down about 15 per cent.

“Traffic is chaos down there, you can't turn left you can't turn right,” said Billy Filippis of Mourelatos.

There has also been a big slowdown at the neighbouring Dagwood's restaurant.

“Right now would be my biggest line-up to be honest with you and we don't have a line-up of people coming in,” said Dagwood’s manager Jy Nanda.

Despite the hassle, the city says the work has to be done.

“We need to repair the sewer; it's a problem if we don't repair it. What choice do we have?” asked de Repentigny.

Repairs should be finished by the end of the week, but it's hard to predict what you'll find when you're dealing with 130-year-old pipes.