MONTREAL -- A pipe that supplies water to roughly half the people in the City of Montreal needs fixing fast.

The city held a special council meeting Wednesday afternoon to award an "urgent contract" to repair the pipe the city stopped using in July as inspectors found in the spring that 40 per cent of it was deteriorating and therefore at risk of bursting.

The construction company Michaudville was awarded the contract unanimously to replace the two-metre pipe that runs along the Ville-Marie Expressway between Guy St. and Atwater Ave.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante praised city workers for finding the fault before it caused major flooding downtown, in Little Burgundy, the Orange Line and the Ville-Marie Tunnel.

"There has been a lot of expertise and counter-expertise as well," she said. "The good news is that we're ready to go ahead."

The city has been using three smaller pipes since the summer to get water to the around 1.2 million Montrealers who depend on the pipe for water.

Temporary repairs begin Oct. 17, and the pipe should be repaired by the spring.

Three-of-four lanes will be closed on St. Antoine between Atwater and Guy for at least a couple of months.