MONTREAL – Emergency work is set to begin Thursday to fix a pipe that supplies water to more than a million people in Montreal.

The city awarded the contract Wednesday during a special council meeting after inspectors noticed in the spring that 40 per cent of the pipe was deteriorating and at risk of bursting. 

"The situation is under control," a city of Montreal spokesperson said on Thursday. "We did investigate just in time."

The city prohibited use of the pipe in July.

Construction company Michaudville was awarded the contract to replace the two-metre-wide pipe, which runs along the Ville-Marie Expressway, between Guy Street and Atwater Avenue.

City officials are warning the repairs could mean massive amounts of traffic until work is completed.

Georges-Vanier Boulevard will be completely closed northbound between Saint-Jacques and Saint-Antoine streets, as well as southbound between Baile and Saint-Antoine streets.

De la Cathedrale Street will have one lane open between Saint-Jacques and Notre-Dame West streets.

Saint-Antoine Street will be restricted to two-lanes between Guy Street and Atwater Avenue.

Wednesday, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante praised city workers for finding the defect before it caused major flooding downtown, as well as in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood, on the Metro’s 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 pipe could have burst, if the city hadn't intervened, the mayor added. 

The city has been using three smaller pipes since the summer to get water to Montrealers. Repairs on the pipe are expected to be finished by next spring.